Saturday, January 05, 2002

Speaking of Eeeville Corporate Machinations:

Tim Blair down in Australia takes on the anti-McDonalds cretins and squishes them into insignificant blots. I'm just going to make my own statement here: I like McDonalds. Maybe not as much as Burger King -- but then, BK ruined their fries with that bogus "crispy coating," which tastes like they fried the things in the plastic bag they came in. McDonald's fries are perfectly cooked with just enough grease-to-salt ratio. And the burgers are no more than they should be: a quick and tasty (no doubt due to the nice, high grease-to-salt ratio) bites of protein and carbs. Best of all: vegans won't eat there.

I have heard from a lot of folk on how corporate America is "taking over" the cultures of other lands. Self-proclaimed "spokespersons" for these supposedly beleaguered other cultures (like the "French" Jose Bove, who grew up in California) are all too ready to come forth and pronounce their verdict on whatever it is they don't like about America's "invasive" culture, without, it seems consulting the people who are actually eating at McDonalds and buying blue jeans and listening to rock and roll music. And there are all too many eager voices on this side of the pond to add their support to these spokespersons and activists and whatnot. It is somehow assumed that customers of McDonald's et al are completely without any intelligence or discernment; that they need Big Brother to lead them by the hand.

I have encountered this attitude, in varying forms, ever since I switched from trying to get a Computer Science degree (which is, alas, beyond the powers of my intellect), to major in Humanities. In the computer sciences, the focus was on business, new inventions, what innovations in software and hardware could do for people. In the humanities, the assumption is that people themselves have to be changed to make a better world, and that in order for these changes to be put into effect there has to be an elite intelligentsia to lead them by the hand into the brave, new, world. It is not spelled out quite so openly as that: "show them the way" is how it is usually put, in one way or another. Innovations in material objects are not considered particularly important, since the idea is that until people change, it won't do much good to make their circumstances materially better. This is the reason that so many anti-war activists refuse to believe that in Afghanistan war has helped rather than hindered the situation of the peoples in that area. The Afghans may have more food and their own government as opposed to some alien Taliban pushing them around, but none of that matters because they aren't governing the way the "enlightened," leftist commentators think they should (they haven't instituted a Socialist regime, in other words); many of the women are still wearing their burqas -- because they are traumatized, just "in case," because they are used to it, it's custom, whatever -- so it doesn't matter that they can now go to school and have careers and laugh out loud; and the food came from (or was delivered due to the efforts of) the American military, and nothing the American military does is right in the eyes of certain elitist products of our Humanities departments.

I have nothing against elitism per se. I am quite ready to defend Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings against the scrawlings of a drunken crack-head. But these particular elitists refuse to admit that they are, in fact, elitists. No, they are egalitarians, the voices of The People (as opposed to actual, real persons). I doubt Mr. Bove has ever asked a McDonald's customer why they patronize the Golden Arches when they can eat escargot or pate instead. He doesn't care why; he dislikes McDondald's, and he has obviously been raised to think himself a very smart fellow indeed, so much smarter than the common people who don't have all his fine education, so McDonald's has to go.

(I personally think that the reason the French, for one, go to McDonald's is because they looked at escargot and paté one day and realized they were eating snails and smushed-up liver. I mean, yuck.)

Legions of the Shallow, Part Deux:

I'd been seeing this name around the internet for the past few days, and couldn't remember who this Naomi Klein chick was. From the comments on other blogs I figured she was just another anti-West-though-I-live-here, capitalism-is-bad, self-aggrandizer. And I was right. I remember now that she wrote No Logo, all about how Eeeville Corporate Honchos are out to turn us into brand-name obsessed zombies... which it seems describes her own childhood so well.

I have a task that might make anti-war, supposedly pro-the-poor-people-of-Afghanistan activists happy: start a fund to rebuild the ancient buddhas that the Taliban destroyed. (Link courtesy of Jeff Jarvis -- whose site is also worth reading today because of a retort to yet another poverty-causes-terrorism spouter.)

Friday, January 04, 2002

I keep forgetting to extend my sympathies to Tim Blair concerning the fires in Sydney. I live in Florida, which about three and a half years ago experienced a similar situation of drought and fire. (It was these fires that inpired Pat Robertson to say that God was punishing Florida for Disney's gay-friendly policies. And courtesy of Andrew Sullivan, here is news that Mr. Robertson is at it again, not saying anything about Florida or Disney World, just being his usual freakazoid, kneejerk, pseudo-Christian self.) I was living in Miami at the time, and the fires were mostly in North-Central Florida, but they were so immense that the smoke came all the way south to where I lived, some 350 miles away. People who did live up here at the time experienced the destruction of their homes, friends of mine had to evacuate... not fun. Firemen became heroes to the people up here back then. Now I live up in Central Florida. Fire is still a big worry, as (despite the mental picture many people may have of lush, green Florida) this state is susceptible to drought and fire is always a worry.

Anyway, here's hoping it starts raining a lot, and soon, in Sydney.

Anyway, enough of that. I STILL have not seen Lord of the Rings. I planned to do it either yesterday or today, but my stomach had OTHER ideas. I feel as if I have let my side (the Geeks) down. (By the way, I was watching Conan OBrien last week, or the week before... I can't remember when. Anyway, he had Kevin Pollak on, and they were both making fun of all the weird, geeky people who lined up all night to see the premier, etc., etc. Excuse me, but CONAN YOU ARE SO BUSTED YOU GEEK YOU NOT ONLY HAVE READ LOTR SEVERAL TIMES YOU HAVE BOUGHT ALL THE "LOST TALES" VOLUMES ONE AND TWO. I am like so sure Conan is a secret Tolkien freak, I would swear on the ashes of my father that my sister keeps in Miami, bwahahaha.

Important: Advice needed

I got an email from an AP reporter who is based where I live (Central FLorida - he doesn't say what paper he works for), and he wants to do a story on blogs. Here is his email:
Hiya. I'm (name), and AP newsman based - like you - here in
Orlando. (Actually, I'm a sportswriter wannabe; I also cover the
In any case, I'm interested in doing a feature piece on the blog boom
in the wake of 9-11. And since you're here in Orlando, well, how
Would you mind being interviewed? If not, call the office at
(number), and we can set something up.

Well, I am too muzzle-headed from illness and all to know what to think. I am almost as afraid of reporters as I am of lawyers, and I sure don't feel like the thought of being responsible for the Whole Blog World to some guy who might not get it. So what would y'all do if you were in my shoes? Tell me what you think.

Update: the reason I said "anyone who loves my blog..." in the post below is because Ms. Berlinksi emailed me to say that she loved my blog! I am still kind of woozy so I am having trouble being CLEAR tonight. Oy.

Well, I go and put up a tip box and then I bug out and don't post for days! I have an excuse: I've been down with a stomach virus, and the one time I did try to post (last night), my computer froze up and crashed, and I was still feeling too crappy to bother with rewriting anything.

Anyway, the first thing I want to do is to plug the wonderful Claire Berlinksi's new book, Loose Lips. Anyone who loves my blog is wonderful by default, of course (I can take a compliment!), and besides, as a writer wannabe myself, I have to support a writer who has actually finished a book, unlike myself and my five unfinished Novels From Hell... Anyway, read the first chapter:

I think you'll decide it's worth buying.

More later!

Grr. Edited for the third time to remove dumb mistakes.

Wednesday, January 02, 2002

I've found another blog that linked to me: the Unablogger. (Note: if you are an uptight prude disapprove of pictures of nekkid ladies, don't go to this page!)

More good links and observations on Sgt. Stryker's blog.

I'm sluggish today; since I was too lazy to go to the grocery store, I have no cream for my coffee. I can't drink coffee without moo juice; I've tried, it just can't be done. I can do without sugar (not happily), but not milk or cream. So I've tried to wake myself up with a nice pot of tea (I do not put cream in my tea! Ugh.), and it just isn't doing it for me. So I'm off to Denny's or someplace for a decent breakfast.

Tuesday, January 01, 2002

What's up Stuart Reid's butt? It's hard to tell from this schizoid rant in the Daily Telegraph, but he seems to be displeased about the fact that the US efforts in Afghanistan did not result in Peace on Earth, and it also seems to piss him off that Sex in the City won some sort of award. He condemns the fact that women in Afghanistan haven't all tossed their burqas, and then in the next paragraph he's grousing about how much we like sex here in the West. Dude, make up your mind.

By way of USS Clueless: the Saudi Arabian government is accusing the US of a attempting to defame Islam.

All together now: awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Here is my personal message to the Mosque Ladies* over in the Land of Sand: since you have apparently been in a coma for the past, oh, three months, the response to the September 11th attack on these shores was 1) get the bastards who caused this, and 2) try to understand this Islam thing. At no point has any spokesperson for the West - not any one that mattered, anyway -- condoned an "attack on Islam." Au contraire, we stoopid Americans were enjoined by all and sundry to hit the books, go back to school, and get some eddication on this religion and these countries that we stoopid Americans supposedly know nothing about. I myself was already enrolled in a college course called "Islamic Thought," an overview of Muslim religious thought and jurisprudence --- and the class was full by the time the semester started, several weeks before September 11th.

Here's a Gulf War joke, courtesy of P.J. O'Rourke's reportage (I forget if I read it in Give War a Chance or Republican Party Reptile, and I am paraphrasing slightly since my book is at home and I am not): "What's the Saudi battle song?" "Onward Christian Soldiers."

But enough of that. The Saudis sound like the Soviets did (and Castro et al still does), whenever anyone criticized their policies: "Our enemies are defaming us!" It was never their fault, all the bad things that happened; it was because of the lies and slander of the capitalist lackeys. And so it is with the insecure Wahhabist fundamentalists who rule Saudi Arabia. They don't have the courage of their own convictions, so they can't bear the slightest criticism. What's that tiny buzzing noise I hear? It's the smallest violin in the world, and it's playing for just for you guys.

*Who could have inspired this rant. Oh, I don't know, could it have been... SATAN???

Monday, December 31, 2001

Pictures of some funny money -- link from Eurotrash. Well, I'm glad I left my coin collection in a closet in Miami.

A correction to this post: the feminist writer who wanted a traditional wedding was Naomi Wolf -- though I don't remember if her last name has one "f" or two in it. Y'all know who she is anyway.

I'm feeling drunk with power, so I'm adding a little something on the side. Hey, a dollar buys a cheeseburger at McDonald's! not that I need to eat any more cheeseburgers....

Apropos of nothing, the fearless Dawson took the plunge and visited my (alas, sadly neglected for the past few months) website, and emerged unscathed! Do bloggers know no fear? (In the works: a permanent domain of my very own as soon as I find a site which suits my anemic bank account. Okay, that's the last whinge about money you'll hear from me! Because after all, the dollars are going to start pouring in. Right? Right?)

Just when I think I'm free, they pull me back in! -- with this story about Democratic senators who make their staffers drive American cars. Oh dear, there goes my chance to work for the Dems, boo-hoo! You see, I drive a lovely 2001 Toyota Echo. After my experience with the 1984 Ford Escort (as in: Escort You Straight To Hell) and the dreaded 1974 Chevy Vega (three words: aluminum engine parts; need I say more?) and last but not least, the 1988 Dodge Shadow (of Doom), I decided I would go to one of the former Axis Powers for my vehicles. So far I have not had the roof rust out on me (like the Escort, which was brand new when I bought it, did after only one year) or have the engine seize up, curl into a litle ball, and toss its rods all over the place in a fit of pique on an expressway like the Shadow did (in Miami one week after Hurricane Andrew chewed up my neighborhood).

(Story link courtesy of Tim Blair. That's right -- an Australian guy alerted me to silliness in my own country. Go figure!)

Hmm. Discovered something interesting just now: when you make a link to a website that ends in ".php," do not put that remaining last forward slash after the final letter of the url (before the quote in the tag) -- it makes the link go to a freaky error page. Otherwise, it does not seem to matter whether one puts a final slash. I am not sure it is even necessary. HTML advice, anyone?

Muchas Gracias to Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs for linking to moi.

Added The Midwest Conservative Journal to the links. Many good stories and pithy comments.

Home Computing for Terrorists: somone in Kabul forgot to erase their hard drive, and left all sorts of incriminating evidence on a computer apparently used by Al-Qaida leaders to write memos, letters, recipes... for poisons, not cookies.

More of that U.S.-sponsored "silent genocide" in Afghanistan... not: this article on food deliveries states:

ALTHOUGH THEY are wary of claiming total victory, officials said they believe the overall food supply in Afghanistan is now sufficient and conditions are stable enough to deliver food throughout most of the country.

"There will be no famine in Afghanistan this winter," said Catherine Bertini, executive director of the United Nations’ World Food Programme, which trucks the food aid into Afghanistan. "There will be deaths, because the country was in a pre-famine condition this summer before the war started. But it will be isolated, and not large-scale."

Of course, those deaths will be blamed on the U.S. anyway.

Happy New Year to everyone where it's already tomorrow.

My local paper sneers at gun owners. I don't know why anyone whould carry a gun to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City either -- but then, I have never owned a gun, so what do I know? (That may change, anyway -- I've been thinking of getting one.) Maybe someone going to Utah for a hunting trip is also going to see the events. Maybe they have a job where they carry a gun (private eye, parole officer, etc.). Maybe they are being stalked by a crazed ex-husband. I doubt anyone carries their gun on a "whim." I can see it now: "Honey! Where's my gun? You know my outfit isn't complete without it! I can't be seen in public without my firearm -- I'd feel so underdressed!"

Sunday, December 30, 2001

Oh, to be in England, now that books are cheap: they are selling their classics for peanuts over there, apparently to make way for more "up-to-date" material such as: "a book on gluten-free cooking, one on beauty and make-up, guides to Lisbon and Brittany, the latest Danielle Steel and something called The Livewire Book of British Women Achievers." Apparently it's all about catering to the "needs of the community," which is based around minority groups that are carefully kept from having to learn anything about the culture of the country they are living in; that might hurt their feelings, reminding the various speakers of Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, and whatever language Danielle Steele writes in (it resembles English, but is not quite), that they are not actually living in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, or Beverly Hills.

In a way the same thing is happening to libraries here, though I am not quite sure why. Libraries are always complaining about budget problems, or at least the library in Miami-Dade county always was. But then they tore down their perfectly adequate main library building, which looked like a manor house in the Georgian style and was situated in a sunlit park on Biscayne Bay, and built a supposedly bigger, better on on the back end of Miami's small, fist-like downtown. The new library was built in the "Spanish" style, and was reached by either a long, long, concrete ramp lined with stinky drunken bums homeless people, or via on over-the-street tunnel that led from a dank parking garage. The ground floor of this edifice had windows covered with thick iron grills, like a dungeon, thus completing the general Inquisition-era atmosphere. I have no idea what the county kept in the ground floor -- people like me, no doubt, who habitually turned in library books a year late.

I had used to constantly go to the old main library via Miami's crappy bus system (parking in downtown Miami costs a fortune and isn't worth it). Sure the place had as many bums homeless people hanging around as the new one, but somehow they weren't as threatening in the sunny, dusty old library as they were in the dark, shiny, new library. And as well, the new library seemed to have fewer books -- the shelves looked lost and tiny in the vast expanse of the new, huge rooms. And they were always exhibiting something dreary about Oppressed Peoples in the shiny glass display cases. Anyway, I visited the new library about five times, then began going to bookstores. At least you can get coffee in a bookstore.

I have added more lovely blogs to the list over there on the left. Especially important to visit is On The Third Hand, the Über-Bellicose-Woman site. Stop reading this silly blog and go there now!

Charles Johnson has a post on more anti-Semitic trash published in supposedly "mainstream" Arab periodicals. Why do I get the feeling that certain Arab nations are becoming this century's Nazi Germany?

New blogs added: Samizdata, and USS Clueless.

Also: the wonderful Dawson.com has paid me the ultimate compliment: I am "witty, wise" and, best of all, "bellicose"! (Hmmm. I'm not married.) And he also praises my writing, which gives me hope that my choice of métiers was not a mistake... So everyone go immediately to Dawson.com and read!

Over at USS Clueless, Mr. Den Beste has had something called the "Women's Entertainment" channel inflicted upon his cable provider. Boy am I glad I no longer have cable... WE sounds like another Lifetime clone, as is the Oxygen channel -- which I believe was sponsored by Oprah. You know what that means: plenty of four-kleenex-box weepers with plots that sound like they were culled from old issues of True Confessions Magazine (Florence King writes that she got her start writing "true confessions" for this genre of magazines, the first one entitled "I Committed Adultery in a Diabetic Coma"); the rest of the programming consisting of the View-like talk shows and dreary women's "health" specials that put forth the notion that women are sickly and neurotic. (Personal note: my ex-boyfriend used to torture himself by watching The View. The fact that it used to torture me too wasn't enough to lure him away from his televised hair-shirt.)

So-called "women's programming" today seems to be to be no more advanced than the keep-'em-in-the-private-sphere propaganda that Betty Friedan groused about way back in the early Sixties. Postmodern "feminist" notions of women as being "closer to the earth," "more in tune with the environment," and "more caring" in general than klutzy, cold-hearted, linear-thinking males has a lot to do with this. Since this viewpoint dovetails nicely with the reactionary yet culturally powerful attitude that woman's proper role is that of nurturer and caregiver, it's no wonder that this sort of pseudo-feminism has had more success, in the popular media at least, than the sort of austere, disciplined, rational feminism that actually made substantial improvements in women's lives, such as getting women the vote. But rationalism is lambasted by the postmodern feminists as being too cold, too linear, too "male." How do I know this? I took a Feminist Theory course at my university last semester. We started with Friedan and ended with a compendium of "Third Wave" feminists. (Feminist theories are grouped in "waves," the first being suffragettes et al such as Susan B. Anthony, "second wave" feminist being women such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan; yes, a wave was left out -- oh, and the "troughs" in the waves are eras considered to be Dark Ages of Feminine Oppression such as the Fifties, when women were apparently being enslaved by kitchen gadgets, and the Eighties, when Reagan was in power and all women had to wear burkas and be accompanied by male relatives! Not.) Anyway, these "Third Wave" feminists had concerns such as: am I giving in to male oppression by wanting to be married in a traditional wedding ceremony? (Natalie Wolff); and Why can't I run around naked in the street? (This from a Lesbian Feminist of Color whose name escapes me but who wrote about her efforts to Challenge Cultural Oppression by becoming a stripper.)

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