Thursday, July 28, 2011


I've been favoring Perry the last couple of weeks, ever since Gingrich imploded and it suddenly looked like Perry was a probability in the race. Before that? Maybe Daniels, but he turned out to have the opposite of a Midas Touch, just wading into every gopher hole and barbwire tangle he could find between points A and B on any particular topic.

But I fully admit I don't know Perry that well. The fact that he's never lost a race is... a bit troubling. That tends to breed arrogance. The Aggie thing is going to make him a real punching-bag among the culture snobs who up to this point have occupied their time calling Palin and Bachmann "crazy" and other words starting in "c".

Bush the younger sort of turned himself into a Texan, a play-acting, theatrical version of a Texan. It was mostly real, at least as real as Reagan's cowboy act, but it was sort of an act - he was a Yale man, from a family of Yale men. Perry is, apparently, the son of hard-scrabble dryland cotton farmers. I'm not sure whether the "tenant farmer" label means that they were actual impoverished sharecropper types, or that they operated an agribusiness which rented land on an industrial scale. Given that a bit of googling shows that Perry's father was a county commissioner suggests the latter, I think.

The article sells the idea that Perry's a hardass. Look around the news this month, and I ask you - do we want a hard man in 2012, or another softly-softly "crusty but lovable" type like McCain?

Oh, well, we'll see how he operates once he's all the way into the race. He's still only toe-deep into the campaign muck.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Marshall MacLuhan was a devout Catholic his entire life? My mind is officially blown.

Combine that with Jack Kerouac's reported Catholicism and I have this bizarre mental image of

The twinkling lights of stubborn faith
Swimming serenely between the organic flakes of
Plankton, diatoms and
The dying oceanic masses
The algeaic snow that float slowly
Falling from those teeming sun-lit shallows
Into the godless depths of the deep

I don't disagree with the writer's assessment of MacLuhan, I read one of MacLuhan's books about ten years back, or at least the first third or so. It was interesting, but so very muddle-headed and arbitrary and riddled with intrinsic contradictions that I dropped him as a charlatan part-way through. I suppose you could classify him as a writer whose manifest and extensive errors are challenging to the intelligent reader, sort of like Karl Marx. Although likewise, he's a serious danger to the hard-charging would-be believer looking for a doctrine and a faith.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

“For his own good, they ought to take him into the woodshed and say, ‘if you want to survive in this work environment, you’ve got to keep your word, you’ve got to be cordial and congenial and civil even when you’re disagreeing,” said Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) “It makes for a very hard career otherwise.”

You know, talking about taking an adult black male - Allen West, an army colonel & freshman US Representative from Florida - "into the woodshed" - isn't just play-act political-kabuki-pretense fake-racism, I kind of think it may be actual working-definition racism. And seeing as how the email Rep. Moore is having kittens over was in response to an intemperate speech in the well of the House, I can't say as how I can see why the Dems have any grounds for crying "congeniality" or "civility".

h/t, although for a change, Insty's actually down-playing the offensiveness behind his link.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My parents were in town this weekend on their yearly northern progession, visiting friends and relatives in four states. I took them to Arts Fest in State College on Saturday, and a Spikes game on Sunday. Arts Fest was crowded, and hot. We did a quick circuit of the booths, and marveled at the amazingly high-priced art. I ran into a couple co-workers and out-of-town friends while we were walking around the festival. It's the week for running into people, everyone comes into town!

It was the first time I went to a Spikes game. The field was beautiful - perfectly manicured, everything new and shiny. The team was... not very good. They got three runners on base in both the eighth and ninth innings and just couldn't get anyone home. The other team wasn't much better, but they were good enough. The field's staff ran around like maniacs entertaining the crowd with frat-boy-type games & distractions, doing their best to keep the crowd from paying too much attention to how bad the team was playing. It ended with a really nice fireworks display. I have to wonder how much my company pays for the season tickets I used - there was a cranky season-ticket holder sitting next to my dad complaining about the team & talking about how much season tickets cost; it isn't cheap.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Ugh, I managed to get rootkitted by a stubborn set of trojans early this morning, and it took seven hours to clean up the mess. I *think* I'm in the clear, but it took three additional malware programs on top of my installed McAfee, and I managed to burke my relationship with the various Google/gmail/blogger interlocking web-applications. I'm mostly posting this to see if I can get it to work.

There some sections of the internet which just aren't safe, no matter what prophylactics you keep on hand. Firewall, paid-up & up-to-date paid antivirals, using a low-trust dummy account, and it *still* slipped on through as if it was strolling in the front door. Manga scanslation sites are the modern-day equivalent of a 19th century San Francisco coolie whorehouse - you'll catch a virtual STD just walking the sidewalk outside it.

Update: and just as I start making jokes about STDs, I lay eyes on this. I dunno that this untreatable gonorrhea business is particularly new, though. We've had untreatable STDs - from the ugly-embarrassing (herpes) to the lethal (AIDS) for decades. But we really, really need new antibiotics, and the morons in charge are too busy harassing the drug companies to be bothered with things like public hygiene.