Monday, November 29, 2010

Steve Martin. One Crazy Guy. One Fabulous Writer ...From Paris

When I read Steve Martin's novella "Shop Girl" a few years ago, I was stunned.  It was an unexpectedly beautiful read. Exquisitely developed characters, folded into memorable moments; the perfect girls book, written in near poetic dripping detail. I couldn't believe it was written by Steve Martin.  Steve Martin?  Steve 'one craaazzzy guy' Steve, who wore bunny ears and made a fool of himself?  THAT Steve?  WOW!



Steve has a new book out about the contemporary art market "An Object Of Beauty." 

I haven't read it, but I highly recommend it.  I know Steve's work.  He's one fabulous writer.   

Ford Becomes Another Chinese Casualty

November 29, 2010: A Chinese born engineer, Xiang Dong Yu who worked for Ford Motor Company for over a decade, pled guilty on November 17th of stealing over $50 million worth of Ford technology and selling it to a Chinese automobile company. The most Yu can get is six years in prison and a fine of $150,000. Many of the technologies Yu stole have military applications. This sort of thing is nothing new. Three years ago, another A Chinese born man, Xiaodong Meng pled guilty this week to stealing source code for American military flight simulators and selling it to China.

Best Essays from our archives: A short history of utopianism

To create blissful Socialist utopias, we need smart, strong, deeply caring men in charge. Lefty men, like Robespierre, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, etc. Geniuses to rescue us from our pitiful fates as little people.

A quote from Fred Siegel's review of Flynn's A Conservative History of the American Left in City Journal, re 1820s socialist Robert Owen:

Owen anticipated both Marx's concept of false consciousness and Herbert Marcuse's of repressive tolerance. He insisted that men, because of the way they have been hitherto educated . . . are incompetent to form a correct or sound judgment. Creatures of their environment, they have been rendered irrational by the absurd doctrine of free will and responsibility. All could be put right if such subjects. . . . be instructed in better habits, and made rationally intelligent. But until then, Owen didn't want the opinions of the ill-trained and uninformed on measures intended for their relief and amelioration. No! . . . their advice can be of no value.

Owen's sentiments were exemplified by the most famous of the utopian communes, Brook Farm in Massachusetts. Influenced by the ideas of French social reformer Charles Fourier, Flynn writes, Brook Farm was stocked with Boston Brahmins, Harvard graduates, [and] descendants of the Pilgrims who retained the Puritan conviction that they were the elect but had little common sense. Failures at subsistence farming, dependent on charity for their Thanksgiving dinner, they needed to hire unskilled laborers in order to feed themselves. Writing about the plebes, one of Brook Farm's members, Charles Dana, insisted: 'We are in fact the only men who can really point out their course for them and they can hardly help looking to us for their advisors." But the laborers chafed under their supervisors feckless paternalism, openly mocking Dana and his fellows as "aristocrats."

My, my. How little has changed in the Left in 200 years. Utopians always condescend to us ignorant, feckless, unwashed, irrational "masses," don't they?

What racism?

Re that Looking for Racism piece we (and many others) linked a while ago:

I spent most of the summers of my youth working side-by-side with black guys, doing manual labor. Mostly landscaping and in lumber yards, back before all the Mexicans arrived. My folks required us to labor during the summers. They did not wish to produce spoiled, snotty brats.

I loved those dudes, and they liked me. We were a bit culturally alien, but we all liked good music and thought about Jesus. They all grew up in the South. The differences made us more interesting to eachother. They'd invite me back to their places after work to listen to Kenny Burrell, smoke some weed (to which they introduced me), and drink cheap wine and smoke Pall Malls (the red packages - delicious unfiltered smokes) until it was time for me to wobble my parents' station wagon away from downtown back to Whitelandia. I miss them.

In my view, modern racism is an invention of the race-pimps and pols who make a good living off of inventing it and then exploiting it. Even Al and Jesse have trouble finding problems nowadays and, believe me, they do look for signs of them everywhere.

"How long have you owned a car?"

ii_rolls_royce_1.jpg

Mr. Allen Swift of Springfield, Massachusetts, received this 1928 Rolls-Royce Picadilly P1 Roadster as a graduation gift from his father in 1928. The car was brand new.

Swift drove it up until his death last year. . .at the age of 102.

At the time of his death he was the oldest living owner of a car from new. Now in a Springfield museum, the Rolls has 170,000 miles and still runs like a Swiss watch, silent at any speed. It is in perfect cosmetic condition after 82 years.

Unreal

UN Endorses Executing Homosexuals

According to the amendment, which passed, executions of these kinds are okay for gays.

A collection of notorious human rights violators voted for the amendment including Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, North Korea, Iran (didn't Ahmadinejad tell the world there were no gays in Iran?), Egypt, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

Muslims, and Africans — all beloved of progressives — don't seem to be on board with the rainbow agenda. The only Middle Eastern country to vote against the agenda was reviled  Israel.

Liberals are about feelings. These Huffington Posts again show the truth of that statement.

Mohamed-Osman-Mohamud.jpg

Somali-born Mohamed Osman Mohamud thought he was serving Islam's by killing hundreds of innocent Americans at a Christmas tree-lighting celebration in Portland. Actually, all he was doing was walking into an FBI trap — and inspiring affection and  commenting at the largest liberal blog, Huffington Post. A few samples:

MNmommy
Look at this young man's beautiful face. He could have been redirected to modeling instead of encouraged in terrorism by the FBI. What does that say about us?
HUFFPOST SUPER USER capt ayhab
How wonderful. Our entire intelligence apparatus is engaged in targeting a 16 year old Somalian named Mohammad, approaching him with fame and glory, wait till he is 18, teaching him how to build a bomb. Better yet build one themselves and detonate in remote area. Buy him a van, fill it with fake explosives. Get him a cell phone, give him a number to dial to explode the device in crowded and the arrest him.
harmlesstree
That's what can happen when you support brutal policies against an individual's homeland; and the U.S. supported the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, along with many other things that go completely unreported in the MSM.
euell
I just feel terrible for his parents and family; our hearts and prayers go out to them.
photog606
ANOTHER "terrorist" manufactured out of whole cloth… the FBI only had to supply the time, the location and the phony bomb… then swoop in to save the gullible US citizenry from a scenerio THEY set-up and created.

september 11

Muslims are nice and it's all our fault.

Dems

  •  

  • Dean: Gov't Should Pick Guests on Cable News

  • Never heard of this

    What Are Anticrepuscular Rays?

    What Are Anticrepuscular Rays?Perhaps you have seen something similar to this one day, probably when you thought you were hearing a choir of angels and the Apocalypse was about to break loose. They are anticrespuscular rays, and they happen opposite to the Sun.

    Crepuscular rays—as captured here by John Britton over Colorado—happen when the sun is behind some object, usually clouds, and its rays are scattered in the air by rain, snow or dust. Perspective makes the rays go away from the Sun, giving them its supernatural God is pointing at us look.

    Anticrepuscular rays are the same but, instead of looking as if they are going away from the Sun, these rays converge on the horizon 180 degrees opposite to our home star. The rays go through the sky in a straight line but they appear to re-converge at the anti-solar point because of perspective.

    The Dems ran this man to be President?

    Sen. John Kerry calls for Israel to cede Golan Heights and East Jerusalem...

    U.S. Army Unveils 'Revolutionary' XM25 Rifle in Afghanistan. From Brandon

    The XM25, designed by Minnesota's Alliant Techsystems, has been in development for about seven years and the first prototypes have been doled out to combat units in Afghanistan earlier this month. The 12-pound, 29-inch system, which costs up to $35,000 per unit, is so sophisticated that soldiers are proficient users literally within minutes.  (U.S. Army) 

    The XM25, designed by Minnesota's Alliant Techsystems, has been in development for about seven years and the first prototypes have been doled out to combat units in Afghanistan earlier this month. The 12-pound, 29-inch system, which costs up to $35,000 per unit, is so sophisticated that soldiers are proficient users literally within minutes. (U.S. Army)

    Since the dawn of modern warfare, the best way to stay alive in the face of incoming fire has been to take cover behind a wall. But thanks to a game-changing "revolutionary" rifle, the U.S. Army has made that tactic dead on arrival. Now the enemy can run, but he can't hide.

    After years of development, the U.S. Army has unleashed a new weapon in Afghanistan -- the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System, a high-tech rifle that can be programmed so that its 25-mm. ammunition detonates either in front of or behind a target, meaning it can be fired just above a wall before it explodes and kills the enemy.

    Misc

    White House Refuses to Release Donors to David Axelrod’s Charity. Well, they’ll probably show up on Wikileaks anyway. Everything else does . . . .

    NELSON SPINS IN HIS GRAVE: “The Royal Navy is selling HMS Invincible, a storied aircraft carrier, in an Internet auction. I don’t know whether to be more melancholy over the decline of the once-great Royal Navy, or to laugh at the postmodern madness of it all.”

    Elections have consequences and a good start

    Obama to freeze federal worker pay, save $5 billion over two years

    This Day in Tech

    Nov. 29, 1972: Pong, a Game Any Drunk Can Play

    How Sports betting is changing in Las Vegas

     

    Photo: Brian Finke

    The wood-accented sports book at new Vegas casino M Resort resembles a cross between an upscale sports bar and a midtier accounting firm.
    Photo: Brian Finke

    It’s a sweltering August evening in Las Vegas, but it’s cool inside the sports-wagering emporium at the M Resort Spa and Casino. On one of the dozens of TVs around the room, the Detroit Tigers are playing the White Sox in Chicago, and Jimmy E. has a feeling.

    Jimmy, a fiftyish man in Bermuda shorts and Crocs, sips green tea as he surveys his options on three small monitors in front of him. The veteran sports bettor would rather not reveal his full name, but he’s happy to share the details of his wagers. He has $8,600 on account that he can draw from. He also has a gut instinct that the next man up to bat, the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta, is going to strike out. Jimmy taps one of the touchscreens, placing a $250 bet on Peralta whiffing. The first pitch is a swing and a miss. Jimmy’s a third of the way there.

    The M Resort is a new casino 8 miles south of the glittering Vegas Strip. Its wood-accented sports book (gambling lingo for the casino within the casino where you can wager on sporting events) resembles a cross between an upscale sports bar and a midtier accounting firm. Some gamblers hunch over workstations identical to the one Jimmy sits at, feverishly entering fresh bets. Others wander around the floor clutching touchscreen tablet devices that they use to tap in spur-of-the-moment wagers. There are occasional cheers when a big play happens, but mostly there’s a palpable tension, a sense that everyone around you is engaged in intense concentration. If the big-screen TVs were playing CNBC instead of ESPN, you might mistake the place for a trading floor.

    Jimmy squints through his glasses at the screens in front of him as Peralta goes after the second pitch. Another miss. Newly updated odds appear. The count is 0 and 2, and at this point, Jimmy could hedge the bet he made 45 seconds ago by entering a counterwager—with attractively long odds—that Peralta will actually get on base. Jimmy opts to sit tight, which turns out to be a wise decision—the third pitch comes and Peralta goes down swinging. In mere seconds, $777 is credited to Jimmy’s account. “My pending bets look favorable,” he says. He has money down on the outcome of the game, but he has also bet on specific at-bats, the performances of various players, and which team will win a particular set of three innings.

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/11/ff_midas

    Wow. Very strong.

    Senator McCain Compares Palin to Reagan, Says He’s ‘Proud Of Her’

    On CNN’s State of the Union this morning, host Candy Crowley asked Senator John McCain what he thought of Sarah Palin’s recent firestorm of media attention — her new book, new reality show, and all the other publicity she has been receiving recently. When Crowley asked if McCain felt Palin might be divisive, he responded: “A guy named Ronald Reagan used to be viewed as divisive.”

    “She’s doing a great job. I think she’s motivated our base,” McCain added. “She had a positive impact on the last election, and I’m proud of her.”

    The New Elite

    For Murray, the new elite is defined, once its members leave school, primarily by its tastes:

    Get into a conversation about television with members of the New Elite, and they can probably talk about a few trendy shows -- "Mad Men" now, "The Sopranos" a few years ago. But they haven't any idea who replaced Bob Barker on "The Price Is Right." They know who Oprah is, but they've never watched one of her shows from beginning to end.

    Talk to them about sports, and you may get an animated discussion of yoga, pilates, skiing or mountain biking, but they are unlikely to know who Jimmie Johnson is (the really famous Jimmie Johnson, not the former Dallas Cowboys coach), and the acronym MMA means nothing to them.

    They can talk about books endlessly, but they've never read a "Left Behind" novel (65 million copies sold) or a Harlequin romance (part of a genre with a core readership of 29 million Americans).

    They take interesting vacations and can tell you all about a great backpacking spot in the Sierra Nevada or an exquisite B&B overlooking Boothbay Harbor, but they wouldn't be caught dead in an RV or on a cruise ship (unless it was a small one going to the Galapagos). They have never heard of Branson, Mo.

    NYT bogus standards.

    The New York Times is participating in the dissemination of the stolen State Department cables that have been made available to it in one way or another via WikiLeaks.

    My friend Steve Hayward recalls that only last year the New York Times ostentatiously declined to publish or post any of the Climategate emails because they had been illegally obtained. Surely readers will recall Times reporter Andrew Revkin's inspiring statement of principle: "The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here."

    Who Put This 1,000-Ton Boulder Here?

    Who Put This 1,000-Ton Boulder Here?That's not a tiny man. That boulder—shot by Icelandic photographer, volcano adventurer and overall awesome guy Ragnar Sigurdsson—stands 50 feet high, weighs about 1,000 tons, and it wasn't there a few days ago. Who put it there?

    This guy:

    Who Put This 1,000-Ton Boulder Here?

    I call him Mike, but you know him as Eyjafjallajokull. Its impact is still being felt in Iceland. This boulder came out of nowhere after the unpronounceable raging mountain melt the glacier that was trapping it. Glaciers are slow but irrepressible forces of nature that wrap and drag everything on their way. Unfortunately for the glaciers, volcano lava, win like scissors over paper. [Daily Mail]

    X-37B Shuttle's Super Secret Mission to End Soon

    X-37B Shuttle's Super Secret Mission to End Soon

    The U.S. military's secret space shuttle/spy plane hybrid that was spotted by amateur astronomers earlier this year is set to land around January. Its success has reanimated the dusty X-34 but we still know next to nothing about it.

    It would appear from amateur observers on the ground that the secretive U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane – will be landing soon. This prediction is based off the fact that the craft is dropping in altitude and the more basic fact that it is nearing the limit of its orbital capabilities and has to return to terra firma. According to the U.S. Air Force, the X-37B can remain on orbit for around nine months or 270 days at maximum, this means that the craft should be landing sometime in the middle of January. - Universe Today

    Fish Farms

    Bluefin tuna in captivity

    Scientists Manage to Adapt Juvenile Blue Fin Tuna to Captivity in Land Installations

    ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2010) — Research scientists Fernando de la Gándara and Aurelio Ortega, along with technicians Juan Ramón Prieto and Javier Viguri from the tuna culture team at the IEO, have managed to adapt around twenty juvenile bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), to captivity in land based facilities at the Plant for Marine Culture at the Murcian Oceangraphic Centre.

    This adaptation had already been successfully achieved in Japan, in Australia and in the USA, in other species of tuna such as the Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis), the southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii), the yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) and the blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) but never with the Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) making this a European first.

    Eternal Youth Potion Discovered

    Eternal Youth Potion DiscoveredHarvard University researcher Ronald A. DePinho has discovered a way to reverse age degeneration for the first time. His experiments on mice have demonstrated that you can return individuals to a younger state, with new growth on brain and improved fertility.

    While scientists knew about the role of telomerase—an enzyme that adds DNA sequence repeats at the end of chromosomes—in body decadence and experiments were made with extremely simple organisms, this is the first time that this breakthrough has been achieved in complex mammals. While it's not human testing, this discovery could be an amazing weapon to fight Alzheimer and other degenerative diseases. According to DePinho: http://gizmodo.com/5701151/eternal-youth-potion-discovered

    Congress Members Get Richer

     

    If you are among the 2 million Americans who lost their home to foreclosure in 2009 or have been struggling to make ends meet, maybe you’re just in the wrong line of work (assuming you have a job).

    There is one segment of the workforce that has seen its aggregate wealth increase by 16 percent. It has managed this feat, moreover, despite employer evaluations so negative as to be immediate grounds for dismissal in any other industry. That group is Congress.

    A recently released study by the Center for Responsive Politics reveals that between 2008 and 2009, members of the U.S. House of Representatives enjoyed a 19-percent increase in wealth, from $645,503 to $765,010. During the same period, senators settled for a more modest raise of 5 percent, from $2.27 million to $2.38 million.

    GW: the crazies gather in the Sun

    Cancun 'climate change' summit: Scientists call for rationing in developed world...

    Actions vs words: Bono has concert no environmentalist would applaud: 'Arrived on six 747 jets… running 55 trucks'...

    Again O is going the opposite direction of the trend.


    Swiss voters approve harsher deportation plan...
    Israel to crack down on illegal migrant workers...

    Very Interesting

    Documents reveal China's role in shipments of nukes to Iran...

    LEAKED: Gates Says 'Russian democracy has disappeared'...
    Iran's Supreme Leader 'has terminal cancer'...

    271 Picassos

    Staggering Picasso trove turns up in France

    • Court battle looms as hundreds of Picassos turn up: report AFP/File – Pablo Picasso's son Claude Picasso stands beside a canvas by his father entitled "Trois personnages" …

    By JAMEY KEATEN, Associated Press Jamey Keaten, Associated Press 11 mins ago

    PARIS – A retired French electrician and his wife have come forward with 271 undocumented, never-before-seen works by Pablo Picasso estimated to be worth at least euro60 million ($79.35 million), an administrator of the artist's estate said Monday.

    Very Interesting


    CLASSIFIED NO MORE: USA RACES TO LIMIT DAMAGE...
    250,000 State Dept. cables cover Iran, NKorea, Putin... MORE
    Reveal: Iran 'smuggled arms' to Hezbollah on ambulances...
    Reveal: Clinton Orders Diplomats to Spy on Other Countries at UN...
    Reveal: Iran obtained missiles from NKorea -- capable of striking Europe...
    WIKILEAKS: We've been hit with 'mass distributed denial of service attack'...
    MOST EMBARRASSING, DAMAGING DISCLOSURE IN DECADES...
    Reveal: China conducting computer sabotage...
    Saudis are chief financiers for al Qaeda...

    Reveal: Saudis repeatedly urge US attack on Iran...
    Now Australian police investigate WIKILEAKS founder...
    France says leaks threaten democracy...



    PAPER: 'Never before in history has a superpower lost control of such vast amounts of such sensitive information'...

    From John

    Pakistani Muslims threaten violence unless Christian mother is executed

    Pakistan, a hot bed of Islamic extremism - even among those who oppose the Taliban - may execute a Christian woman for "blasphemy" based solely on the testimony of witnesses who hate her for her religion. A mother of 5, Aasia Bibi may even be innocent of the charges:

    Bibi was arrested in June 2009 after Muslim women labourers refused to drink from a bowl of water she was asked to fetch while out working in the fields.  Days later, the women complained that she made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed. Bibi was set upon by a mob, arrested by police and sentenced on November 8.

    Rights activists and pressure groups say it is the first time that a woman had been sentenced to hang in Pakistan for blasphemy.