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Friday, November 30, 2012

Middle age wasted on the middle-aged

You occasionally hear the saying, youth is wasted on the young.

I know my youth was wasted. Not in the sense that I had a "misspent youth" hanging around pool parlors, getting drunk, partying, and otherwise generally being a wastrel.

It was wasted in the sense that I didn't do enough of that sort of thing. If I could live my life over again, I'd forget about competitive swimming, or at least be less neurotic about it. Or maybe instead I'd have wrestled, which I probably would have been better at.

But mostly I'd just chase girls more. I wouldn't worry about making a fool of myself, or looking bad, or even being offensive. I'd just be much more uninhibited about the whole thing.

Looking back, I realize I was so shy I didn't even realize I was shy.

If I could do it again, I'd act more like the people I generally looked down on. You know, the particularly un-shy ones.

I wouldn't worry about what people thought of me -- what a waste of time that was. And I'd tell people what I thought of them -- both good and bad.

But all this makes me wonder: do old people feel that middle age is wasted on the middle-aged?

I have a feeling I'll look back, think of the ruts I was in (am in), and think I wasted my middle age as well.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The most interesting things

The most interesting things are always those which are unexpected, or even taboo. Wow, Bill Clinton is a sociopath. Wow, Barack Obama is a homosexual. Wow, sasquatch might actually exist.

A lot of people are very uncomfortable going outside mainstream thought: they are afraid that others will think them foolish, and laugh at them. For some reason, I don't have that fear. (Maybe I should, but I don't.) So I don't mind stating my opinions like those cited in the first paragraph.

I've certainly been scoffed at, and I'm sure an even higher number scoff at me behind my back. But ever since I was told my IQ was high when I was a kid, it's just never occurred to me to worry about my intelligence. I may not be as smart as I think I am, and there are certainly plenty of people who are smarter, but I know I'm smarter than most. So I don't worry about others thinking I'm dumb. Or even crazy.

It's not that I don't have insecurities. I worry that I'm weak, or soft. (Probably because I am.) So I try to act macho. If anything, that sort of behavior probably makes me appear even weaker, and softer.

A lot of people are that way about their intelligence: they never express an original opinion for fear that people might laugh at them, or think them off in some way. They cleave to the middle of every road in an almost desperate attempt to seem "balanced" and avoid any sort of public censure.

They don't realize that this just betrays a second rate intelligence -- at best.

This is exactly what the enforcers of political correctness count on: peoples' intellectual timidity. They know that with enough intimidation, people won't stray to conclusions the facts lead them to, but rather will stay within the boundaries of what's deemed respectable to think.

When you have a population which is too insecure to believe the evidence of their own eyes and come to their own conclusions, and which is too intimidated to speak their minds, then you have a politically correct, easily manipulable society. It's what our media masters want -- and it is, for the most part, what they've gotten.

So go ahead and be as timid in your opinions as you like. You'll actually be making your life much less interesting by limiting your thinking to what's generally considered "acceptable."

And be aware that acting like a sheep doesn't make you look intelligent.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The "bag man"

It looks as if the NYPD has caught the latest serial killer operating in the city, Salvatore Perrone --

-- yet another sociopath with those weirdly thin lips. (Can't explain it, can't think why it would be so, but I keep seeing it.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dealing with rejection

How well someone takes rejection speaks volumes about who they are as a person.

There are few more impressive than the guy who, upon being rebuffed, can say that he still likes the girl, perhaps turns his rejection into a joke, and acts amused by the whole thing.

On the other hand, there's nothing less impressive than one who, upon being turned down by a girl, accuses her of being a dyke. (I seemed to know a lot of guys like this in college.)

Similarly, a woman who finds out that a guy is not interested in her sexually and takes it in stride is admirable.

But one who becomes filled with rage and then tells her friends that she thinks the guy must be gay, or suggests that he get therapy for sexual ambivalence, or somesuch, is one with a very fragile ego -- and such egos tend to come with a tenuous grip on reality. (I've known a few of these, too.)

Mr. Sensitive

One of the most ridiculous articles I've ever seen.

A Baltimore Raven, Jacoby Jones, was being interviewed on the sidelines by an attractive reporter, Michele Tafoya, and he answered her politely. At the end, when she congratulated him on his play, he replied "Thank you gorgeous," gave a quick wink, and ran off.

Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports saw an opportunity to burnish his pc credentials, so lambasted Jones for not having treated her with the "same respect and regard any man would in a similar circumstance."

One of the funny things about the article is that when you look at the picture of Doug Farrar, he looks exactly like the kind of fat slob who loves to guzzle beer and watch football games and yell at the screen, but never do any exercise himself. He doesn't exactly look like a, uh, feminist. (Perhaps he's aware of the image he presents, and thus felt obliged to present this paean to his own "sensitivity.")

Here is a picture of Doug:

It's worth taking a look at the interchange between Jones and Tafoya, which is embedded in the article. Jones doesn't linger over the word "gorgeous," nor does he make a leering wink. He actually struck me as quite polite.

How offended are you when someone calls you "gorgeous," or "sugar," or "hon"?

One of the problems with liberalism is that it results in these ever escalating wars of political correctness, where people fall all over themselves trying to outdo each other in showing how correct and easily "offended" they are.

Okay Doug, you win this round.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Connery vs. Craig

In comparing the two best Bonds, Connery and Craig, you have to say Craig is the better actor. He can express ennui, world-weariness, pathos, vulnerability, frustration, disgust, and sardonic humor. And he does it all without overacting.

Connery can express coolness, and toughness, and well, mostly just Connery-ness. He was the equivalent of a beautiful woman: a parade of sex appeal who doesn't really need to be anything else. (With a beautiful woman, you don't really expect a great personality, you just hope that her personality isn't too horrible.)

A better comparison might be Hulk Hogan, who couldn't really do much inside the ring. He had none of the acrobatic movies which the real athletes had: he couldn't do flips, or jump from the ropes, or even any of the standard wrestling moves. But he didn't really need to, because he was the Hulkster and looked the part and all his fans had Hulkamania. Hogan even looked a little like Connery, with the line under his cheekbone running backward rather than forward:

Daniel Craig just misses being really handsome, but he looks tough, which is enough for the role. His 3/4 angle looks good, and he has a great profile as well.

But Craig's straight on view isn't quite as good. (His close set eyes and wide nose aren't visible from the 3/4 or side view.) One weird thing about his face: his lips don't match. Usually a person either has two full lips or two thin lips; Craig has a thin upper lip combined with a full lower lip:

Craig looks as if he works out all day, as befits a modern action hero. Connery looked as if he hadn't done anything but drink martinis and smoke since the age of 23, which is probably pretty much what he had done. But Connery still exuded far more natural manliness than Craig.

One advantage Craig has is better writers. In Thunderball, after shooting a bad guy with a spear gun, Connery quipped, "He got the point." After shooting down an enemy helicopter in From Russia With Love, he said, "I'd say one of their aircraft is missing." Back in the 60's, these lines were actually considered witty.

In Skyfall, after seeing one of the bad guys dragged off by a Komodo dragon (in a casino), Craig says philosophically, "Ah, the circle of life." After exiting the Komodo pit he hands the girl a suitcase filled with four million dollars and says, nonchalantly, "Put it all on red" (i.e., bet it on roulette).

An actor is responsible for his own professionalism, but at a certain level, he can only be as good as his writers and script allow him to be.

I mean, the writing has to be sharp. Get the point?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Real intellectual courage

Every now and then when I read an editorial by Thomas Sowell or Walter E. Williams, or hear Clarence Thomas's name on a Supreme Court vote, or read about Ward Connerly and his anti-affirmative action referendums, I think about the lonely lives these guys must lead.

It takes a lot of courage to speak honestly if you're a conservative black, because  you will inevitably be scorned by other blacks, and called an "Uncle Tom."

The NY Post runs editorials by Thomas Sowell occasionally, and these have a consistently conservative bent. One attack on him by Patricia Roberts Harris, an official in the Carter administration, was typical. According to Wkipedia:

[Harris] once said that Sowell and Walter E. Williams "don't know what poverty is." Sowell called her position "a pathetic sign of intellectual bankruptcy," saying that he "was almost 9 years old before [he] lived in a home with [hot] running water" and that she "was a campus social leader in an 'exclusive sorority' - meaning that it was for middle-class (light-skinned) women" while he worked full-time and went to [the same college] at night."

(Williams grew up in a housing project.)

Clarence Thomas is widely derided in the black community for his conservative views. His most famous critic was Anita Hill, who had worked for Thomas at the Department of Education and later at the EEOC, who accused him during his confirmation hearings of asking if someone had put a pubic hair on his Coca Cola can and talking about porn to her. We'll never know for sure who was telling the truth in that he said-she said controversy; what we do know is that after their professional association ended, Hill later talked with Thomas on the phone, met with him, and even dined with him.

Ward Connerly led anti-affirmative action referendums in several states (all successful, although several were partially overridden by the courts). In 1995, then California State Senator Diane Watson said about him, "He's married to a white woman. He wants to be white. He wants a colorless society. He has no ethnic pride. He doesn't want to be black."

If you're black, and advocate what's best for the country as a whole rather than just what's best for blacks, you're looked upon as a traitor. You will be ostracized by the black community, made an outcast from your own tribe.

And then, you can't really take comfort hanging out with white people. Whites may befriend you, but most of them will still be strangely awkward around you, especially the liberal whites.

Most people can't take this, so they stay on the reservation. After all, who wants to be thought of as Benedict Arnold -- even if he's right?

Not that many people have the courage of their convictions. The fellows I've just mentioned do. I salute them. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shocked, I tell you, shocked!

Perhaps the most surprising thing to emerge from the Petraeus scandal is that people are so surprised about it. True, Petraeus looks like a straight arrow and his military bearing is not one that brings to mind  the image of a "lounge lizard." But he is a guy, and newsflash, guys to tend to act like guys when given the opportunity.

To the best of my knowledge, I've known two CIA guys (neither admitted it to me), and both were prolific womanizers. When your life is all about skullduggery, would you draw the line at an illicit affair? And why would it be any different at the top?

My guess, if everybody in the federal government who had some sort of illicit sex had to resign, we'd have to hold elections again, next week. And most of Congress, as well as the Executive branch, would be up for grabs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I'd read about a half dozen reviews of Skyfall before going to see the movie yesterday evening, and fully expected to hate it. Much of what I read made it sound as if they had toyed with the Bond formula too much, to the point of sacrilege. But the changes were good.

Q is now being played by 31-year-old Ben Whishaw (he looks more like 21). I'd gotten used to Desmond Llewelyn, who'd played the role in 17 Bond movies, up until his death in 1999. And I don't go to a Bond movie to see characters who look like college students. But the movie cleverly works Whishaw's age into the script, and turns it into a plus.

I'd read that Javier Bardem makes the villain campy. Camp was the kiss of death for Never Say Never Again (all prints of which should be destroyed immediately; it needs to be eradicated like the smallpox virus). But Bardem is more gay than camp, and it works in the context of his character. He is evil, but evil for reasons we can sympathize with. He is also, as all archvillains should be, diabolically intelligent.

I'd read that the movie takes you back to Bond's childhood, and explains certain things about him. My initial thinking on that was, do we really need to know that much about his backstory? James Bond is supposed to wind up in bed with a beauty, not on the couch talking to a shrink. But the psychoanalysis is minimal, and the scenes which take place in his ancestral home work well.

There is an old Scottish gamekeeper who is played by Albert Finney. One of the reviewers pointed out that this was a role which must have been written for Sean Connery, who must have passed on the role. I had my doubts until I heard the gamekeeper call Bond as a "jacked-up little shit." Those words were definitely written for Connery.

M, played by Judi Dench, figures prominently in this movie, playing a central role in the plot. As one reviewer said, we now know that M stands for Mommy. (I'd like to claim that line as my own but can't.)

Naomie Harris, as the good Bond girl, looks breathtakingly beautiful from some angles, less so from others. But she is playful and flirtatious, as she is supposed to be. Berenice Marlohe, as the bad Bond girl, is actually a better actress than looker. (Aren't Bond girls supposed to be the reverse?)

Bond movies have traditionally been better in the first half, and tend to run out of imagination in the second. Both halves of Skyfall were great.

The action scenes were as good as ever. It helps that Craig is so athletic-looking. He looks less 'roided-up here than he did in Casino Royale, but his bone structure still makes him look like the former SAS type he is supposed to be. There seems to be a general consensus among the reviewers these days that Craig is the second best Bond ever. I agree.

But while Craig may only be the second best Bond, this may actually be the best Bond movie ever.

Electoral fraud

This article about electoral shenanigans is worth reading. Devvy Kidd has compiled a list of reports detailing different instances of reported fraudulent activity in the Presidential election.

A couple of the instances actually favor Romney; but most favor Obama. Follow the links in her article to get a sense of how easy it is to commit fraud at the local level.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Yep, that must be the reason

David Petraeus just resigned as head of the CIA because he had an extramarital affair after 37 years of marriage.

I honestly cannot recall anybody else who resigned from public office this way. There have been people who have been caught in affairs, and have stopped running for public office as a result. But to -- as best I can tell -- volunteer that he had an affair, and then just quit?

Especially a guy who's in charge of the CIA, who runs all the top secret cloak and dagger black ops that this country engages in. He's really that straight-laced?

I mean, I've seen the James Bond movies, and, disappointing.

Looks to me as if Petraeus was just looking for an excuse to get out, and this was the best he could come up with.

He should have tried something a little more credible, like the classic "wanted to spend more time with his family" line.

Yep, an affair. I'm sure this had nothing to do with how the administration refused aid to those four men who were killed in Benghazi. And I'm sure the timing -- three days after the election -- was entirely a coincidence.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm not as smart as I thought

I sure called this one wrong: I had thought right up until yesterday evening that Romney would win. I figured that Obama had lost the swing voters, and that his base would be less motivated to get to the polls than in '08. I had thought that the polls were oversampling Democrats, and that the Bradley Effect was still in play. I thought that Romney (read: anti-Obama) voters would be more motivated, and would show up in full force. Now it all looks like wishful thinking.

I'm trying to console myself with the thought that Obama is less likely to get us into a land war than Romney would have been. And he is more likely to stick to the timetable of withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014, even if he has to lie about how his surge succeeded. (The country will obviously fall to the Taliban the minute we leave.)

I'm also mystified by the fact that Asian voters went for Obama by a margin of 75 - 25. Do they not realize how much they will be hurt by the disparate impact/redistributionist/affirmative action mentality of the Obama administration? (I hereby renounce my Japanese ancestry.)

There's been almost no talk of voting irregularities, but I wouldn't entirely discount the possibility of fraud. I did hear of one instance where a retarded 57-year-old who had never voted before was taken by the group home attendants where she lived to vote for Obama. When she told her parents about her vote, they were mystified, saying that she wouldn't even have known who the two candidates were. That was just one instance involving one vote, but it's not hard to believe that it might not have been repeated on a much larger scale. I'm not even sure that that was illegal, by the way: it's her Constitutional right to vote every bit as much as it's yours or mine. 

In any case, she is a fitting metaphor for Obama's electorate.

And, I must admit, for me, for having thought that Romney would win.

It's hard to escape the feeling that in the long run -- and now even in the short run -- this country is doomed.

This past year, for the first time, we fell off the list of the ten most prosperous nations. And with Obama in power for four more years, we will continue to fall.