Jumpin’ Jack Steve

Posted December 9th, 2010 in Canada, pop culture by MarkOttawa

Who’d a thunk it?  He sure is trying hard to keep my vote:


Maybe I loved the Rolling Stones too early and too much. Honest, I did. And do. No fading away…

I bought this in England in the summer of ’64:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4149uSqNTrL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

More Stones stuff here.

Mark
Ottawa

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Ways of the world/Bat-shit

Posted December 2nd, 2010 in Humour, International, pop culture, united states by MarkOttawa

Excerpts from a very broadbrush post indeed in which Publius worries we may be going to hell in…a Chevy Volt maybe? At least a world which US policies may be badly letting down:

http://godscopybook.blogs.com/.a/6a00d83452553069e200e54ff19a988833-150wi

A sweeping health care package, of bewildering complexity, is imposed against the widespread opposition of the American people. Spiralling stimulus costs, whose benefits have amounted to little more than a super-sized pork barrelling project. Meanwhile dangers to the Republic gather.

A China that is openly contemptuous of American power in the Asian Pacific rim. An Iran that is perhaps months away from developing a nuclear weapon. A North Korean foreign policy that is redefining the meaning of the word brinksmanship. The American dollar being turned into toilet paper through the euphemisms of quantitative easing. The last is perhaps the most insidious, as it may provoke competitive devaluation, where other major powers also turn their currencies into toilet paper. The goal? To pursue the mercantilist mirage of “export driven” growth. QE2 could wind up being a modern day Smoot-Hawley.

And little is being done to curb these dangers. The capacity of the United States to defend its interests globally is being withered. Some may cheer the end of the “American Empire.” Let us not share their naivety. However bad an American dominated world has gotten, it is infinitely preferable to the alternative. We are today seeing more than the decline of one world world power, we are seeing the possible collapse of an international system that has lasted nearly seven decades. If the American yoke seems harsh to some, image China as the center of world affairs, a nation whose neighbours have spent decades seeking succour from Washington…

Blaming social problems on culture is a cliche. Like many cliches, it’s also true. Culture can be used as a sort of intellectual short-cut, the intelligent man’s shrugging of the shoulders at the alien and inscrutable. Yet it is real. Anyone who has lived in a culturally diverse area can see this in action, both for good and ill. Some groups display certain traits and behaviour, others do not. It’s a topic avoided gingerly by most, for in modern North America the charge of bigotry is the most damning. Yet it is there.

The poverty of Africa is not because of corrupt rulers, which is a universal problem that varies only in how brazenly it is conducted. Africa is poor because it is tribal…

…While more is needed to create a prosperous society than just national identity, there are plenty of poor nations with a strong national identities, it is a necessary condition. The nation allows room for the individual to free himself of the tribe. The danger always exists of the individual then becoming a slave of a national state, but it is far harder to establish a tyranny over many than over a few. An insight at least as old as James Madison.

The leap between the tribal and national is one the peoples of Africa, and much of the world, have not fully made. They still live in the largely Hobbesian world of the tribe. We the citizens of Lockean states, should remember to keep that mind.

Meanwhile, Publius also finds time to provide a translation for something quoted at the post “Evil language“:


Poor Mark. I do hate it when civilians – those not long exposed to the madness of modern academia – encounter its verbiage unprotected. Using the patented Publius-O-Matic Translating machine, we will convert this academic ass-hatery into idiomatic (normal) English:

Ya, know. There is some real serious bat-shit crazy people out there. You gotta wonder whether they’re human at all, or maybe just some kind of weirdos. If it’s true that bat-shit crazy people are just really weird, it’s probably pointless to figure out why they so weird. The shrinks are wasting their time maybe. Now this Terry Eagleton guy says the bat-shit people bat-shit because they choose to be bat-shit crazy. Which is his opinion, right.

Some of these batshits like to see other people in pain, they want to take and use rather than break things and people and stuff. But the people who take and the people who break are both the jealous type. They think because someone else has something worth having, and they don’t have it, then they ain’t worth nothin’ themselves. Like you see a guy with a smoking piece of ass, but you ain’t got no ass, and you think you’re less of man because, right. That gets you all twisted up inside. Not in a good way. But then again, if people are bat-shit crazy because that’s just the way they are, then trying to figure why is probably pointless.

Now if people just bat-shit ’cause they bat-shit, then any trying to find why they bat-shit can’t be taken too seriously. So when someone says there is a reason why people bat-shit, I say, like sure but you gotta take it like an example. Not true, true, just an example to make a bigger point, right. Awhile back I gave an example, I wasn’t joking, that when people try to figure out why bat-shit people bat-shit is sort of pointless.

“Kitsch” is when something tacky, and something is tacky because it’s a cheap knock-off of something good. In being a cheap-knock-off it almost like insult the better original thing. When people bat-shit, it almost like they insult the good in life, like the kitsch insults the good original thing. Like when some guy steal some other’s hot ass, ’cause he jealous, he almost like insult her hotness. But if you think bat-shit people just bat-shit, this example ain’t gonna work for you.

The whole issue’s a big bitch, right, especially for people who think they are a reason why some people bat-shit, but it’s been a big bitch since way back.

Hopefully that makes everything clearer.

Mark
Ottawa

‘Nielsen said they needed to get the sick to a hospital…

Posted November 29th, 2010 in Canada, pop culture by MarkOttawa

…”A hospital? What is it?” a flight attendant asked.

Nielsen: “It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.”

And when Nielsen was told, “Surely you can’t be serious,” he answered: “I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.”‘…

In the LA TimesAirplane! is one of my top ten movies.

Mark
Ottawa

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Suzuki just looking for the green…

Posted November 25th, 2010 in Canada, Climate Change, pop culture by MarkOttawa

…were he American.  It’s all at SDA.

Mark
Ottawa

Evil language

Posted November 22nd, 2010 in International, pop culture by MarkOttawa

A response to a letter (scroll up at preceding link for letter) in the London Review of Books–ya wha’?

Glen Newey writes: Of course one can say that the enormity of acts like those of the Khmers or Saddam overwhelms any attempt to make sense of them. In line with that claim, talk about the mindset of evildoers, as I suggested, seems to require double vision about whether or not they belong to the moral community. If so, it is forlorn to try to pin down a specific psychology of evil, such as the nihilistic one that Terry Eagleton highlights in On Evil [Mr Newey's review of the book, first listing at this link, is the basis of this, er, discussion]. Some, like sadists, want to seize value rather than annihilate it. Appropriators and annihilators share the psychic basis of envy, the sense that the self is threatened because value lies outside it, and must therefore be introjected or destroyed. But if attitudes to evil are double-minded, and so literally incoherent, talk about its ‘psychology’ can only be taken metaphorically. My suggestion that it be seen as intolerance of kitsch was meant not as a joke but as a metaphorical account of it. Kitsch objects shut out viewers from value, reducing them to voyeurs. That provokes the urge to reassert the self by reappropriating or destroying value. Sadists, again, try to solve the problem of envy by depriving the other of value, and reclaim value for themselves in so doing. However, if evil-doing is nobody’s state of mind, such descriptions cannot be literally true. Doubtless that is frustrating for moralists, but the philosophical problem goes as far back as Plato.

Huh?

Mark
Ottawa

Now also blogging at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute…/Scary thought Update

Posted November 15th, 2010 in Afghanistan, Canada, pop culture by MarkOttawa

…myself at the CDFAI’s 3-Ds Blog: Diplomacy, Defence, Development, thanks to the good graces of Jack Granatstein.  My first post at the CDFAI,

Mark Collins on a New Good Thing in Afghanistan

is based on this one here.  Unambiguously Ambidextrous gets a nice mention.

Some other contributors to the 3Ds are Colin Robertson, Hugh Segal, Douglas Bland, David Bercuson, and Mark Entwistle.  Along with the National Post’s using material from Adrian and me I’d say we’re doing rather well.

Scary thought update: At the 3Ds I am amongst some of our greatest and goodest.

Mark
Ottawa

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Heavy metal rules when…

Posted November 13th, 2010 in Afghanistan, Canada, International, pop culture, united states by MarkOttawa

…you’re in the heavy metal.  I’m afraid I’m showing my age by agreeing with most of Tom Ricks‘ musical judgements (I suspect our soldiers’ songs would be very similar to the list in Mr Ricks’ post):

The Best Defense list of the top 10 songs for heading into combat



The winner is probably my least favorite song ever. But, of course, this isn’t about me.

1) Drowning Pool, “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

2) Anything by Metallica

Mark
Ottawa

Afstan: Really hitting the Talibs for six

Posted November 12th, 2010 in Afghanistan, Canada, International, pop culture by MarkOttawa

Almost body-line bowling, ideologically speaking:

First women’s cricket team for Afghanistan

KABUL — Afghanistan is to get its first national women’s cricket team, the sport’s governing body in the country said on Thursday, announcing plans for it to compete in an international tournament next year.

“This development is so exciting for our young women cricketers and their families and supporters,” said Diana, women’s cricket development officer at the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), in a statement.

“We love our country and hope to support it through our sport. Seeing a women’s cricket team in the Asian Cup will do so much to raise the hopes of many women here,” added Diana, who like many Afghans uses only one name.

Women’s participation in sport in Afghanistan has increased since the 2001 fall of the hardline Islamist Taliban, who banned education for girls and forced women to retreat behind the all-enveloping burqa.

Sprinter-turned-lawmaker Robina Jalali made it to the Olympic Games in 2004 and 2008, competing in a hijab or traditional Muslim headscarf.

Football and basketball teams have sprung up in some urban areas, but women’s full involvement in sports is still lacking — as in other areas of society — and in many rural areas women rarely leave their homes.

The ACB said the team’s participation in next February’s short-format Twenty20 tournament in Kuwait would be the first time Afghan women will have taken part in cricket matches abroad.

More than 100 young women currently play the game in the capital Kabul and three have recently attended umpire training courses. The ACB has also set up coaching sessions to attract more girls and young women to the sport…

Cricket in Afghanistan is taking off after the men’s national side qualified for the Twenty20 World Cup held in the West Indies earlier this year.

The team is currently preparing to play in the Asian Games from Saturday…

Many Afghan cricketers learned the sport in neighbouring Pakistan after fleeing the violence as refugees…

Take a look at the “Home Ground of Afghan Cricket on the Web”.  Many Afghans are not the fanatical (except for cricket) mediæval primitives a lot of people seem to think they virtually all are.

By the way, there’s a very informative Update, via BruceR. at Flit, at this post on the government’s plans to keep the CF on in Afstan in a training role.

Update: At the game:


http://samaa.tv/Contents/News/2010/11/12/27693/Images/NewsImage_27693.jpg

Photo via Spotlight on Military News and International Affairs.

Mark
Ottawa

Whew! I’m not a elite

Posted November 6th, 2010 in Canada, pop culture, united states by MarkOttawa

I think I scored -100 on Marvelous Margaret Wente’s test in the Globe and Mail (scoring got a bit confusing towards the end).  Sure glad I know the really important Jimmie Johnson–go guy go!

I love Ricky Bobby too.  Shake and bake!  And playing for keeps.

Mildly related:

I didn’t know we’d lost any

Adrian also appears not to meet the elite test:

http://unambig.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/stpierre.jpg

Update thought: I’ll be watching the Brazilian Grand Prix tomorrow and the AAA Texas 500; how does that pan out elite-wise? Then there’s the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions at Shanghai and, of course, the NFL. Busy day (plus the home-delivered Sunday NY Times…I may be conflicted or something).

Upperdate: My wife, from England who’s been here some thirty years, beat me at -110.  And she went a public (private in our terms) school.  Go figure, eh?

Mark
Ottawa

How the Post might paste the Globe

Posted October 28th, 2010 in Canada, pop culture by MarkOttawa

National Post alumnus Paul “Bad Boy” Wells has some intriguing, almost conservative, thoughts:

…Today’s competitive landscape leaves room for a paper that would be less frantic than its competitors, especially the poor, lost Globe. Its front page would try less desperately to be liked by everyone. Such a paper would realize a newspaper isn’t going to look like the internet and shouldn’t try — just as William Thorsell realized in 1990, when he edited the Globe, that newspapers’ attempts to look like television were simply making them look needy. It would cover news according to its own sense of what matters, not its fears about what the reader doesn’t have time for. Those are broad criteria but somewhere within them is a paper, different from today’s Post, that would also be distinct from the rest.

As for “Canada’s National…”:

The Canadian Forces’ future, or, why the Globe and Mail is not a newspaper

No sink or swim, or, the Starification of the Globe

Mark
Ottawa