Other revelations in That Big Bad Book

* Darth Vader is Luke’s father
* OJ did it
* Soylent Green is people
* Rosebud is a sled
* Han shot first
* Rose is the Bad Wolf
* Rick doesn’t leave with Ilsa after all (-wink-)
* Joe Namath got into the end zone in ’65
* The BCS sucks goats
* Celtic wins the SPL title off a Venegoor of Hesselink header in the 72nd minute. HAIL HAIL!
* “…it’s a cookbook! A COOKBOOK!”

Ho hum.

McClellan isn’t telling us anything we didn’t know years ago. The substance of his complaint is more or less precisely what John Dilulio told us before the Iraq war even started. So for all Scotty’s pearl-clutching, it’s not like he’s got any grand revelations to share, except that he’s only just now realized that three-quarters of the country thinks his old boss sucks and this is his best chance to cash in.

So the only new revelation is that Scott McClellan is a complete douchebag Okay, so there are no new revelations. What I do know is that he’s not going to make any friends to the left of, oh, all the right-wingers he just shat on…oh, whatever. Even I don’t give a shit about this anymore.

Windows 7?

First off, where are they getting “7” from? Are we following the NT path or the 95/98/ME path?

Secondly, I’m looking at the demo and all I can see is a bunch of multi-touch stuff bolted onto Vista. The kind of thing that’s going to require tons of RAM, a high-end graphics card, a bucket of VRAM, the latest multicore CPU and a whole new touch-sensitive monitor. It looks like they’re trying to implement that multi-thousand dollar touchscreen table on a PC.

Thirdly, what is the point? I’ll tell you the point: to try to get your attention with something shiny for a year and a half (as if they’re ever going to deliver an OS on time) while distracting you from the fact that Vista is the worst steaming pile that Microsoft has shipped since Microsoft BOB. Or maybe since Word 6 for Macintosh. I’ll tell you one thing: I have run Vista on Parallels and VMWare Fusion, and I have run XP on both, and there are absolutely no circumstances under which I would choose Vista over XP. In fact, there are no circumstances under which I would take Vista over Ubuntu., because for what I do, I’m pretty confident I can find a Linux equivalent for everything except maybe iTunes.

Naturally, you can have my MacBook when you…actually, I’ve got it booby-trapped with a wipe-script and a half-pound of Semtex, so if you want to try to pry it from my cold dead hands? Buy the ticket, take the ride.

People = IDIOTS

I can sort of understand why just over 30% of Americans believe Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

I can even understand why 10% of the population thinks Barack Obama is a Muslim. (pdf link)

But really? 18% of Americans think the sun revolves around the Earth??


By this math, 54 million Americans need to be lined up and shot. Even if you adjust for everyone who hasn’t made it through 6th grade science yet, that’s just abysmal. I mean, I know I’m a bright kid, and pretty much all my friends are in the good tail of the bell curve, but still, I cannot conceive that there are literally tens of millions of people in this country with a pre-Galileo concept of how the solar system works. No wonder the rest of the world is eating our lunch.

This is probably going to sound crazy

In fact, this is probably going to sound like a heresy wrapped in a blasphemy tied up in lunacy, but here goes:

I don’t know what I need HDTV for.

I mean, what do I watch?

Setanta Sports: not in HD.

BBC America: not in HD.

Doctor Who: not in HD.

Battlestar Galactica: okay, this is in HD, but let’s face it, there’s not much left of it.

all my DVDs: not in HD.

What does the wife watch in addition to that?

Good Eats: not materially improved by the addition of HD, and most eps are probably still std-def

Today Show: REALLY not materially improved by HD. SRSLY.

Going forward, is there anything else?

NFL? Not on your life. I listen to the Skins on Sirius now.

College ball? We’re going to be in Berkeley half the weekends anyway, so only sort of useful.

College hoops? Not until January, most likely.

New shows? Ehhh…may or may not take a chance on the US version of Life on Mars.

Old shows? Not unless Heroes figures out how to suck less.

Long story short: it’s an initial outlay of over $1200 along with an increase in the DirecTV fee per month for minor improvements to a couple of shows. Unless something amazing happens, I don’t see any reason not to wait until after Thanksgiving and see if prices drop.

(All together now: “WHO ARE YOU!?!?”)

Not that this will come as a surprise to anyone…

…but I clearly ought to be living somewhere urban, given my affinity for public transportation. Besides, it’s tough not to appreciate a cable car operator who says he only has two rules: “Do NOT lean out and do NOT fall off. I’m not coming back for you.” The Hail Mary at the top of the Washington Street hill was a nice touch, especially since I was just thinking about how the brake design on the Powell-line cars is about 130 years old…you’re going to smell something burning, but it’s worse if you don’t.

I like cable cars, I like fog, I like Irish coffee…remind me again why don’t we live in the city? Oh yes, because it costs more than a barn full of high-test gasoline. Sheesh.

Now we’re watching The Graduate and trying to figure out how you get to Berkeley going west on the Emperor Norton bridge. Oh, and where in the hell the Berkeley Zoo is. My guess is somewhere on Telegraph.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Things are different over there. Two examples:

1) Motherwell’s Phil O’Donnell, a former Celtic player, dropped dead on the field during a match in December. This Sunday, the remaining members of the 1991 Motherwell team (which won the Scottish Cup with a 19-year-old O’Donnell) and the 1998 Celtic team (which O’Donnell led to the regular season SPL title) will play an exhibition at Celtic Park to raise money for O’Donnell’s family. It’s expected to be a hard sellout.

2) Tommy Burns, a former Celtic player who ran the player-development program, died last week only 51 years old. For those unable to attend the funeral Mass, Celtic has put a PDF of the Order of Service up on their website for fans to download.

And of course, today, two months after most of the footballing world gave them up for dead, Celtic completed the race back to the top, knocking off Dundee United with a Venegoor of Hesselink goal in the 72nd minute, while Rangers fell 2-0 at Aberdeen. And just like that, Celtic wins the SPL title for the third straight year, their longest such streak since Jock Stein and the Lisbon Lions in the late 1960s.

All 90 minutes. All 38 games. If there’s one hallmark of the Gordon Strachan era, it’s this: until the last second has ticked off the clock, Celtic have a chance to win. Consequently, we’ll see you in Europe again next year.

If you can hear the crowd at Paradise all singing “Fields of Athenry” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and not get a chill up your spine, you should probably see a doctor and determine whether you are in fact dead. Sirius just paid for itself. =)

The old days

I am sure, in retrospect, that it was easy to make a case in the 1970s that the world was coming apart. The streak of assassinations (Kennedy, X, King, Kennedy again) made it seem like shooting a prominent leader would become a recurring feature of American life. The price of everything was skyrocketing at the same time that the economy was deteriorating – a process that we’d come to know as “stagflation,” generally driven by artificial cost increases on major commodities (in this case, OPEC’s production controls to help pay for the Yom Kippur war in 1973). The military was, quite frankly, in shambles – done into the ground by protracted conflict in Vietnam and the soul-sucking nature of the draft and its aftereffects. And it seems like an unnaturally large chunk of the prominent celebrities of the Depression-War-Postwar era died in the 1970s, which I can only guess was the logical result of people with shorter life expectancies becoming prominent as a result of mass media (e.g. film and radio on a national scale).

You only have to go back and look at the magazines from the time to see the general despair. People genuinely thought that offering amnesty to draft evaders would undermine military readiness (“Who in the hell is going to fight the next war? The Soviets will not be deterred by the peace symbol”, etc). People actually thought that busing was going to bring about racial Armageddon (read J.Anthony Lukas’s landmark Common Ground, but set aside about a month to do it). People were retreating wholesale into nostalgia (consider George Lucas, who created Star Wars because he couldn’t get the rights to make a Flash Gordon movie, and who financed his project with the money made on American Graffiti. Just consider how highly rated Happy Days was and you’ll get the picture, never mind Grease).

Kevin Phillips is sharp as a tack, no doubt, and he has spent years disavowing the fruits reaped from his landmark The Emerging Republican Majority, but he will always wear a scarlet letter. Two of them, in fact: PP. “Positive Polarization.” There was a conscious, deliberate effort by Team Nixon – starting around 1966 and continuing through the downfall of the administration in 1974 – to portray America as “us and them.” Them, obviously, to consist of war protesters, blacks, feminists, campus radicals, drugged-out rockers, dirty hippies, etc etc – the great unwashed Other. And Us, to consist of…well…”real Americans.” What he created sold like nothing since Coca-Cola. To this day, forty years on, the pundits rant on and on about the need to win “real Americans.” The “heartland.” Those proud rural Caucasian sons of the soil who embody “real American values.”

Lil’ Kev sold the idea that Lee Atwater and Karl Rove made their millions on: that there is some mythical America back in Pleasantville around 1955 or so, before the Negroes got all riled up and the beatnik jazz appeared (background loop of “Take Five” here) and the foreigners and colored folk got into the rock and roll and mad the kids all want to smoke reefer and hate cops (change background loop to Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower”). His crime wasn’t in making people imagine that things were so great and wonderful and simple and perfect in some long-ago American Avalon cloudcuckooland…his crime was in making people believe that you could go back to it.

The irony is that all of a sudden, it’s 2008, the economy is going to hell, oil has smashed through the $100/bbl barrier, American forces are bogged down abroad, and there’s a sinking sense that everything’s turning to shit…and it’s all landing on people who came to power as the logical result of the Phillips plan. The GOP, as currently incarnated, is the apotheosis of the predictions in The Emerging Republican Majority – white, Southern, suburban, traditionalist – and right now, over two-thirds of the country thinks its standard-bearer sucks out loud.

The moral of the story is actually not political at all, and is in fact directed against myself. Said moral being: don’t get too caught up in nostalgia, because that perfect realm you remember wasn’t perfect then and is in any case unattainable now. There’s nowhere to go but forward, or else perish where you stand.