Home Again


By lex

December 28, 2005


And there’s so very much to do.

I’m wildly, improbably behind at that online probs and stats course, in consequence of the fact that the whole of it is, as I have remarked before, filthily written and that the sitting in front of the monitor being forced to read it puts me in the spirit of shooting myself in the teeth. And yet it’s not going anywhere, is it, and the new quarter starts on the 4th of January 2006, which is not so very far away once we’ve said good-bye to 2005 which is something we are very keen to have done, it being probably our least favorite year in the last twenty or so by a long chalk.

And there’s a Sailor at my last command, a good man he is, and getting commissioned to Ensign *, United States Navy who has asked me not only to read him the oath but also to say a few words, and that’s on the 4th too and it’s not the kind of thing you can do on the wing because of the significance of the thing to the man who’s asked for it and he was a shipmate, wasn’t he, so I’ve got a speech to write and not so very much time within which to write it.

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Questions for the blogging set:

By Lex

Posted on April 20, 2006

What the hell is “phentermine”?

Is it only advertised through comment spam?

Does anyone really believe that this is a successful branding strategy?

And finally, why, over the course of the last few days, has my phentermine spam-count (thankfully trapped in comment moderation) gone up so dramatically?

It’s like a hockey stick, I tell you!

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The angry left

By Lex

Posted on April 15, 2006


Has a face.



Yep. That pretty much makes sense.

< –>

Update: You read the article of course. So now you know that it’s all summat to do with a father she never met, cigarettes, faux booze, Newt Gingrich and blog post comment-gazing: 10. 20. Two hundred. Ooh!

Oh, yes: And Darfur.

We all blog for different reasons, I suppose, and for your essential primal scream relaxation technique, a blog probably has lower life cycle costs than psychotherapy. And I suppose that if you’re condemned to greet the morning every day not with light heart and glad hope but rather with simmering rage and glowing anger, having realized that your favored 2004 presidential candidate still isn’t in office, it’s probably useful to know that there are others – many others – who feel just like you do.

To re-discover the what the warm love of the angry left feels like in those comment holes, take a gander at this HuffPo post by Joe Klein, wherein the Time magazine writer attempts to clarify the difference between right-thinking liberals on the one hand, and hate-America leftists on the other. It’s a distinction that the left-leaning Klein should have been qualified to make, if I’m any judge. But apparently I’m not: It’ll quickly become clear to you in his coments that liberals or leftists or what-have-you’s DO NOT HATE AMERICA!

The just HATE YOU, Joe Klein! You BASTARD!



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Is it always a gaffe…

By Lex

Posted on March 8, 2006


When, under pressure, a politician blurts out the truth?

The people doing the fighting think it’s going pretty well. The people doing the writing think the whole thing is doomed. Has been, really, ever since that sandstorm. That was when the tide shifted:

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Judgment Day

By Lex

Posted on December 30, 2005


You want to feel judged? Evaluated? Sifted and weighed?

Placed in a box?

Then let your 14-year old daughter, who has recently taken a fancy to vinyl records and record players sort through your collection of music from Back in the Day.

Your complete collection of the Beatles albums brings with it a kind of grudging admiration. Eyebrows are raised at the sight of your Bob Marley collection, too. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young confer credibility upon you as well. You momentarily bond over Fleetwood Mac. Your chest swells a bit at this unlikely bit of appreciation. But nothing lasts forever, alas:

Not withstanding the worlds coolest album covers, the sight of the Molly Hatchet collection does nothing for your standing, and your stock starts to plummet as she breezes quickly past the Charlie Daniels Band albums you bought when, for 35 seconds, southern country and rock successfully fused – in your mind anyway – into southern rock. You can only shrug as with a quizical look, seeking some explanation, she pulls out the soundtrack for Urban Cowboy. You try to explain that “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas seemed to really have some sort of deeper meaning that was just out of reach back in the late ’70s, but she’s clearly not sold. By the time she gets to a seemingly endless series of Genesis/Phil Collins platters you just sit there in the corner softly weeping, hoping that the humiliation will soon end.

Sic transit gloria.


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Winning hearts and minds

By lex

Posted on March 29, 2006


I fully understand that the immigration issue in this country is freighted with at least as much emotion – on all sides – as it is reason. I’ve been to some of the poorer places in Mexico, and I have to admit that if I was one of those people living in grinding, hole-in-a-mud-wall-with-a-cardboard-box-for-a-roof poverty, I’d try to find a way of getting out of there and making a better life for myself too. Hell, we are almost all of us immigrants, or the descendents of immigrants and I’ve no sympathy whatsoever for nativist arguments, too many of which sidle up uncomfortably near to actual racism. Too, living in Southern California, it’s manifestly clear to me that the energy brought into this country by our neighbors to the south, legally present or otherwise, is very often applied to doing necessary work which few, if any, of our native born citizens would take on, considering such labor beneath them.

On the other hand, you don’t have to believe in in felonizing what amounts to acts of self-preservation to believe that there ought to be a more effective way to control the borders – one of the very minimum requirements of statehood and sovereignty – and rationalize the way newcomers join the work force. We simply haven’t got the resources to rescue everyone living in poverty throughout the world, and we are, or ought to be, a nation of laws. It is a complex issue that goes to the very heart of who we are as a people, worthy of deliberate debate.

Little hope of that though, these days, and nothing does it help for partisans to put counter-productive messages such as this one out in front of a mass, undecided market.


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The other left

By lex

Posted on April 17, 2006


No – not the angry oneThat left, with its childish temper tantrums, potty-language-as-a-substitute-for-rational-debate and moaning, self-indulgent navel gazing has gotten quite a bit more attention than they really deserve, and a period of reflective silence from them would be very much appreciated.

I’m talking about the classical “liberals,” the way the word used to be defined: The post-enlightenment political ideology of those who wanted to extend and protect the liberties and rights (both personal and property) of individuals against tyrannies of all sorts, whether those tyrants be national fascist regimes, or antagonistic aggregations of aggrieved interest groups demanding obeisance to their own definitions of moral propriety. People who understood that because democratic majorities could also be tyrannies, that the principal role of a properly drawn constitution was to protect individuals from the potential depredations of the state:

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