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Monday, December 12, 2005

What’s going on around here?

I have no idea.  You better go ask these guys.  Unless they’re really us, in which case you might as well stay right here and read the next three posts.

Posted by Michael on 12/12 at 08:41 AM
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Will work for feud

So, in response to our gently satirical post about Tobias Buckell’s soi-disant gently satirical post about starting faux blog feuds in order to increase your blog traffic, T.B. has decided to write a sadly illiterate post about the alleged sadness of our alleged Internets illiteracy.  Do we think he got the joke about our joke about his “joke”? Sadly, No!

Tobias wrote:

So in my gently satirical post about how to gain traffic by starting a faux feud, anti-Pajamas Media site ‘Sadly No’ excerpted the opening part of my post, and utterly failed to read the rest of it to realize I was poking fun of using controversy to gain traffic, thus proving the adage that those who choose not read have no advantage over those who can’t.

To add even more class to the post, they photoshopped a piece of fruit over my face.

I guess its always easier to tear things down to create them. Or just to even stop and read them.

It is true that we are an “anti-Pajamas Media site,” as enemy of humanity Tobias Buckell has claimed.  We are, in fact, Objectively Pro-Formalwear Media.  And we don’t mind telling the world . . . it’s remarkable how comfortable we feel blogging in a tux.  Mmmm, the fabric!

But we digress.

OK, we admit, we did photoshop a piece of fruit over his face.

What can we say?  We thought it would be funny.  Even our cats laughed—after their fashion.

image

But we have to admit that Tobias is right on principle.  It is much easier to tear things down to create them.  And it is true that those who choose not read have no advantage over those who can’t.  All we can say response is that bloggers words missing conviction syntax forever!  Faux yeah!

And we truly resent the implication that we are a faux-feud website.

Posted by Gavin M. on 12/12 at 07:13 AM
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It’s a very good sign

Economy Lifts Bush’s Support in Latest Poll

After months of political erosion, President Bush’s approval rating improved markedly in the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, largely tracking Americans’ more positive attitudes toward the economy. . . .

The survey, conducted Dec. 2-6, showed Mr. Bush’s approval rating at 40 percent, up from 35 percent a month ago, which was the low point of his presidency.

Why are Americans more positive about the economy, you ask?  Is it because they’re making more money or something?

Sadly . . . No!

Actually, they’re making less:

As a measure of how much the economy produced per hour of work, business productivity rose 4.7 percent outside the farming sector from July to September, compared with an earlier reading of 4.1 percent, the Labor Department reported. Real hourly compensation, which adjusts wages and other benefits for inflation, fell 1.4 percent, unchanged from previous estimates.

So you’re saying Americans boosted George Bush’s poll numbers up five points because their wages fell 1.4 percent?

Well, sadly, yeah:

“Things are not that bad,” Susan Huru, a 47-year-old independent from Wasilla, Alaska, said in a follow-up interview after the poll was completed. “I can still afford things except for maybe gas.”

No, we didn’t make up that quote.  We only made up this one:

“Bush is all right by me,” said Joe Hill, a mechanic from Salt Lake City, Utah.  “I can still afford things except for maybe health care.  And it’s OK with me if productivity is up and my wages are down—that way, I figure, the money’s going to the people who really know how to use it.  It’s a little like that Nick Lowe song.”

image

What, you were thinking maybe “American Squirm”?

Posted by Sadly, No! on 12/12 at 07:10 AM
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Adams and Steve

Here at Sadly, Non!, we are occasionally amused by Professor Michael Bay-rue-bay’s evasive attempts to explain away the Liberal Dominance of Academia.  We’re fond of his French surname, of course.  Still, we can’t help but wonder at the extremely French weasel-words he uses whenever he tries to claim that wingers are scarce on his side of the campus mainly because bright young conservatives tend not to embark on five-to-ten-year programs of graduate study in the liberal (cough! cough!) arts.

The truth, as always, is otherwise, and the truth, as always, is quite simple.  Conservatives are getting a raw deal in academia because they are much wittier than liberals.  Liberal professors hate lively, funny writers like UNC-Wilmington’s Mike Adams, and that’s why lively, funny writers like UNC-Wilmington’s Mike Adams are teaching at UNC-Wilmington when they should be holding the Distinguished Hannity Chair in Advanced Liberal-Asskicking at Harvard.  No one demolishes liberal PC like Professor Adams did in his October 10 column on why he became a Republican:

Of course, I knew that Republican women were more attractive than Democratic women, long before I saw the above link. But I didn’t know that it was proper to discuss the difference until just before my speech at Ohio University.

That was when three very attractive women came into the room to take their seats and I asked innocently “Are you ladies all Democrats who are here to heckle me?” Their blue-eyed blond leader responded with this far more intelligent question: “Do we look like Democrats to you?”

Just two days after learning that it was alright to talk about this issue, I was giving another speech in North Carolina. After the speech, my wife commented on the good looks of the young Republican women from UNC-Chapel Hill who were listening in the audience.

Of course, this is very good news. Since my wife is able to comment on the surplus of good-looking women in the GOP, that means I can, too. Of course, it also helps that she stopped reading my columns many months ago.

The public discussion of this issue will help Republicans answer some important questions. For example: “Should we assume that being gay often causes one to be a Democrat? Isn’t it more likely that the lack of exposure to attractive women causes Democrats to be gay?” And “Do Democratic women consider compliments in the workplace to be sexual harassment simply because they rarely hear them?”

Are there any liberal professors as funny as Adams?

An ordinary writer would have claimed that Democratic women are lesbians because they’re too ugly to find a man.  But Adams is no ordinary writer.  He shuns the low-hanging fruit (so to speak!), and takes the whole gay thing to The Next Level.  Here, we learn, Democratic men are gay, and gay men are Democrats, because Democratic women are dogs!  Now that’s the kind of bullet-to-the-bone cultural criticism that the stuffy liberal academy just can’t handle!

So Mike Adams asks:  Who let the Democratic dogs out?  And, more importantly, do those wrinkled old dogs make Democratic men gay?  But don’t worry, PC-mongers.  Mike says his question is just an example of “heavy sarcasm.” That’s another thing those liberal professors just don’t understand.

P.S.  Mike is also very funny on the subject of Annie Sprinkle.  Check out those puns at the end!  Hubba hubba.

Posted by Brad R. on 12/12 at 06:19 AM
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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Nobody owns michaelberube.com.

That’s why so many somebodies read it:

Domain drilldown, unique visitors, December 5-10.

1. com (Commercial) 12,018 (30.15%)
2. net (Network) 11,148 (27.97%)
3. (no entry) 9,491 (23.81%)
4. edu (Educational) 3,483 (8.74%)

That’s it?  Only 3,483 from .edu?  Just what are you all doing instead of reading this blog?  Grading papers or something? I can’t hear you, people!

5. ca (Canada) 471 (1.18%)

Can’t I do any better than this with Canada, you ask?  Sadly, no!

6. au (Australia) 335 (0.84%)
7. uk (United Kingdom) 283 (0.71%)
8. nl (Netherlands) 220 (0.55%)
9. my (Malaysia) 213 (0.53%)

Always a pleasure to hear from my good friends in Malaysia.

10. org (Non-Profit Organizations) 205 (0.51%)
11. us (United States) 194 (0.49%)
12. fr (France) 168 (0.42%)

No comment.

13. ru (Russian Federation) 166 (0.42%)
14. de (Germany) 161 (0.40%)
15. gov (USA Government) 129 (0.32%)

This better be Democratic Congressional staffers looking for advice.

16. sg (Singapore) 119 (0.30%)
17. at (Austria) 103 (0.26%)
18. ee (Estonia) 100 (0.25%)

Hello Estonia!  I guess now is the right time to mention my one-day trip to your lovely city of Tallinn.  It was the summer of 1972; I was ten years old, in hockey camp, and it was part of my one and only trip to Europe between my birth and my thirty-ninth year.  And I almost got left behind, as the camp bus took off to take us to the boat back to Helsinki.  Fortunately, someone on the bus noticed I was missing, otherwise I would have wandered around Tallinn for hours until I became the center of a diplomatic wrangle among Finland, KOHO corporate officials, and the Soviet authorities who’d reluctantly granted us the one-day visit.  Ah, those were the days.

19. mil (USA Military) 97 (0.24%)

Ulp!  Uh, hmmm.  Hey, did I mention that I’ve joined the Liberal Prose Network and will be running blogads?  Well, tell you what.  I’m going to suggest that everyone from the .mil domain who buys products advertised on this site should get a twenty percent discount. . . .

20. cn (China) 78 (0.20%)

. . . whereas people from the .cn domain will be subject to a twenty percent surcharge.  Trying to do my part to combat the trade deficit, you know.

21. se (Sweden) 62 (0.16%)
22. nz (New Zealand) 61 (0.15%)
23. dk (Denmark) 53 (0.13%)
24. be (Belgium) 41 (0.10%)
25. jp (Japan) 39 (0.10%)
26. ma (Morocco) 38 (0.10%)
27. ch (Switzerland) 31 (0.08%)
28. it (Italy) 23 (0.06%)
29. no (Norway) 23 (0.06%)
30. br (Brazil) 23 (0.06%)

Morocco!  Now that’s a surprise.  Not that I don’t love all of you equally, except maybe one or two of you countries that are just way too clean.

And stay tuned!  This blog might just be in for even bigger surprises.  You never know.

Posted by Michael on 12/11 at 08:04 PM
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Friday, December 09, 2005

The return of arbitrary but fun value judgments

Lest anyone fear that this humble blog is going to turn into All Science Wars All the Time, I have another Puzzling Problem for you all.  I call it the Untouchable Bull Durham Problem.

I happened to catch Bull Durham on cable the other night.  It stands up remarkably well; I even think it’s a slightly better movie than Slap Shot (and that’s saying something, especially on this blog!) in its depiction of minor-league trials and tribulations, and it’s no mystery why both movies are celebrated for their classic scenes and lines.  But here’s the problem: together with The Untouchables, the movie launched Kevin Costner’s career as a leading man.

Worse still, Kevin Costner is quite good in both films, even if you read his performances backwards from epic-comic disasters like Waterworld and The Postman.  Indeed, the shark-jumping began remarkably quickly for Mr. Costner, with Field of Dreams; this was followed by Dances with Wolves, the longest film ever made, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, in which the always crafty and delightful Alan Rickman is compelled to face off against Costner’s smirking, mumbling Robin (a.k.a. Worst Robin Ever).  I needn’t rehearse the rest of the atrocities—JFK, The Bodyguard, Tin Cup, For Love of Making Yet Another Goddamn Baseball Movie—for you to get the point.  So, then, here’s the dilemma.

First, there is the interpretive problem of how it remains possible to enjoy Bull Durham and The Untouchables (and Costner’s performances in each!) even though they are ultimately responsible for the existence of all of the movies named above.  For it is possible—I just don’t understand how.

Second, there is the question of whether the Untouchable Bull Durham Problem can be generalized—to other films and actors, and perhaps even to other media.  For example, Every Picture Tells a Story is really a damn fine record.  And Rod Stewart even produced it himself.  But is it worth the decades of horror it unleashed?  Likewise, Lyrical Ballads rock.  And the Preface kicks some serious butt up and down the block.  But it led to decades of Rod Stewart-esque dreck from Wordsworth.  And I’m not even talking about the cranky, unreadable late stuff, when Wordsworth was writing sonnet sequences calling for more frequent executions of criminals and fulminating against the rise in the poet laureate property tax.  I don’t even like “Intimations of Immortality,” to be honest.  “To me the meanest flower that blows can give/ Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.” Feh, what a saccharine, self-satisfied couplet, what a lousy melody on “thoughts that do often lie.” As with Costner, I think the shark-jumping started pretty early.

Further suggestions are more than welcome.  Have a fine weekend, everyone.

Posted by Michael on 12/09 at 02:47 PM
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