30 January 2009

All-Natural Sausages

There are parts of the internet that do not get used to make internet link sausages. You won't find any of them here; this post includes only all-natural ingredients (for some value of "natural").

  • Maybe swarming locusts just need some Prozac to keep from interfering with humanity's attempt to swarm the whole damned planet. Some whacko somewhere is going to write a book on insect psychology and earn a guest shot on some talk show explaining how insects aren't bad — they're just emotionally disabled and need our understanding...
  • Not everyone is suffering from the current economy. Exxon's record profits indicate that somebody was doing well last year! For those of you wondering why automobile makers never tried to develop better hybrids and electric vehicles before now, look beyond the short-term commodity pricing issues — after all, the theory of "peak oil" has been around for a couple of decades now — and figure out who owned the critical enabling/blocking patents on battery technology from the mid-1970s until about 2002.
  • Just for amusement, here's a primer on book design. Of course, I have about six caveats for this beyond the "you can break any of these rules if you really need to" closing of the piece. The most important of which, in this week or so before the next Kindle will probably be announced, is this: These principles apply only to printed materials. They do not apply to on-screen text, whether you're talking about a blog or an e-book. Anyone who tries to establish such rigid left-right/up-down rules is going to deserve the screams from those whose devices, or methods of work, do not conform to the screen size preferred by the designer!
  • Without much further comment (aside from my always-present disdain for WFH), there's more Marvel legal nonsense afoot. It appears to me that Daredevil must have been in charge of acquiring visual rights at some point... not just because he's blind, but because he's an attorney working outside his specialty (there's that prohibited "s" word again).
  • Here's a new dimension to the "war on drugs" about which I can't say much more, if only because I haven't seen the actual orders and mission statements in question. On the face of things, it appears that the in-theatre commanders are right; it is also possible, however, that things are being misinterpreted. Like that never happens to military orders.
  • I come here not to praise John Updike, but to bury his literary legacy — preferably at a crossroads stuffed with garlic and its head chopped off. It's been my sad experience that most of the praise for Updike comes not from those who have read and carefully considered his works, but from those who have aspired to his position in the pantheon of cold war American belles lettres. Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom is far less satisfactory a portrait of a salesman than, say, Willy Loman; the less said about much of the rest of Updike's oeuvre, the better. If one really wants to read about Southern New England suburban ennui, one is much better off with Frank Wheeler or Harold Roux.

    The real problem with Updike was his subtle antiintellectualism. He wrote primarily about (and for) the incurious and those whose only conception of an intellectual life might have been reading the novels of John Updike. He dismissed virtually anything that was adopted primarily by people who did not inhabit his novels, even when he tried desperately to adopt their tropes (and almost uniformly failed). His inability to create credible characters whose primary motivation was not sexual gratification, or some variation of that, reflects problems that... well, read The Hair of Harold Roux instead.

  • Of course, sausages do have components other than meat. Although I believe that PETA should stand for "People Eating Tasty Animals" (I'm a vegetable-rights activist, myself), it takes much more time than I have to peel this onion of the layers of hypocrisy surrounding NBC's rejection of PETA's proposed Super Bowl ad for being "too sexisty" (sorry, Nigel). NBC???? The home of Grey's Anatomy (etc.) complaining about sex being used to "sell" something during a sports broadcast? And that's just the beginning.

    <SARCASM> Of course, it's perfectly ok to object that sex is unwholesome during a game designed around barely controlled mayhem. I'll just flip the channel to the news from Southwest Asia and watch a few heads getting blown off instead.</SARCASM> Besides, I think the eggplant enjoyed itself... which is more than I can say for anyone else.