Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Adventure Of Two Dingo

More of the world's problems are mediated through cartoons.
The media's response has perhaps been given added edge by still-simmering anger in Indonesia over the Prophet Muhammad cartoon furore.

Protesters rallying outside Australia's Jakarta embassy this week painted obscenities on its walls and carried banners of an eagle swooping to grasp the bloodstained neck of a kangaroo, shouting "Die kangaroo".
Of course, it's not a laughing matter. The phrase die, kangaroo is a laughing matter, though. But only a small one.

Should the Indonesian press be depicting John Howard as a dingo getting his Bone on with his foreign secretary? Well, why the hell not? I think describing it as "satire" might be a bit of a stretch, though.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Flurry Of Professional Activity

Peer review is a leisurely business, so it's pleasantly bizarre to have two papers OK'd by two different journals in the space of one week. I started shopping this one around in 2004, so it's nice that it has found a home - particularly because, if any serious lies were found in it at this stage, my Ph.D. would probably be retroactively invalidated.

The referee's comments did include the phrase "riddled with howling errors", which is one of those formulations that the eye leaps to and the stomach recoils from, and is generally just not the kind of comment you're looking for in this situation. However, he/she was just taking issue with one of the other works I cited, which was a relief. I've never claimed to be perfect, but the errors that riddle my work are for the most part non-howling.

Anyway, this is straying perilously close to introspection. Time for some more posts about basketball or something, or maybe another week-long hiatus.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Second Tangential Reference To Iowa State In One Day

Save your money! Accept one of our free tanks! It is invulnerable, and can drive across rocks and swamps at ninety miles an hour while getting a hundred miles to the gallon!
Was supposed to be doing something useful at the library; instead, ended up with Neal Stephenson's amusing rumination on operating systems, In The Beginning Was The Command Line, despite the fact that it's one of those tracts that is inevitably going to be available in its entirety online, like here.

The Cato Institute Has Surprisingly Little To Do With Basketball

College hoops? Not so much. However, "For The First Time Ever, Libertarians Win Something" is a gem of a headline.
You could tell by all those three-pointers that this was a team organized on the wisdom of distributed decision-making rather than central control.
Quite. This, in a nutshell, is why I like Reason: principled libertarian commentary together with wry references to their foundation members' "Vulcan and human halves".

Tragically, despite the name, Kelvin Cato of the Pistons did not attend "libertarian mecca" GMU - instead, he chose Iowa State and their iniquitous corn subsidies. Another marketing opportunity gone for naught.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

And Not Just The Obvious Ones, Like "Saloon"

Apologies for yet another protracted absence. I've been... well, not exactly busy as such. Anyway, Queensland was ravaged by a hurricane, and I found out that I've had a paper provisionally accepted by some journal or other, so there are entries on both sides of the ledger.

I'm also about to lose access to my old university account in the US, so I've been rummaging through the last five or so years of email and keeping the good ones. Patterns begin to emerge in your correspondence if you do this in a short enough space of time, even in addition to the usual patterns you see after staring at a screen for hours on end. Many, if not most of these several thousand emails were sent from my office and consisted of passionate negotiations with others on campus over the question of whether we were going to go to the bar, and if so which bar, and when, and what were we to do upon arrival at the bar. Reading through them en masse, one receives the impression that a primitive new language is taking shape before your very eyes; one with fifty-odd words for "bar".

Unintentionally Revealing Remark Of The Month

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Marbury vs. Billy Madison

As if the shocking cinematic news uncovered in the previous post wasn't enough, the Volokhs have been digging up references to Adam Sandler movies in legal opinions.

In light of their findings, I can not only no longer carry out my work-type duties at a satisfactory level, but I need to lie on the floor for a while with a damp cloth spread over my eyes. Thanks again, internet.

Dead Writer Dodges Bullet

Trawling around on the intermittently reliable IMDB, I found this.

Quoth I (after several seconds of stunned silence): Nevermore. Seriously, guys, no mas.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

On "Psychological Enslavement"

Actually, I'm retroactively warming to Crash. It was in no way, shape, or form a great movie, but seriously, for God's sake:
And while we’re on the subject, I might as well mention Lars von Trier’s soon-to-be-released Manderlay, which premiered at festivals in 2005, and is about the very kind of psychological enslavement that might lead a group called the African-American Film Critics Association to present Crash with a best-picture award.
Whoa. Dude. There has to come a point at which even the LA Weekly pulls you on one side and points out that no, in fact, hedging that statement with a "might" doesn't make it acceptable.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Clooney's Performance As Paul Krugman Honoured

Some people who I, like, used to know have been blogging the Oscars. To Vague I say: chaw, pshaw. Acting Oscars are for a body of work (or, if you're Jennifer Connelly, a finish-the-innuendo-yourself) and P.S. Hoffman has just been rocking all over the place for the last ten years.

Crash, on the other hand, can bite me. Like Suomi, I was rooting for the goddamn cowboy movie, because now everyone is going to wax agonistical about whether Hollywood is making a statement about The Lifestyle (whether practiced specifically by closeted sheepherders or not) by denying it the Best Picture award, and I am sick unto death of this manufactured non-controversy already. I much prefer listening to people like this douchebag explain how Hollywood is out to destroy the world. There's something soothing about it.

Meanwhile, this is good stuff, especially notable for its innovative categorizing of doomed romances:
They're married to different people, or they come from different social classes, or they're on a big boat that's about to sink, or they come from different social classes and they're on a big boat that's about to sink, or one of them is a self-absorbed playboy who inadvertently causes the death of his would-be girlfriend's husband and then accidentally blinds her.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Evading The Tipping Point

Saturday is a good day around these parts: I have an Ikea rocking chair, a large container of coffee, and an entire North American continent that still thinks it's Friday and is posting to their blogs accordingly. Tim Cavanaugh is a smartass, Ted Rall is begging for money to launch a frivolous lawsuit, five clones of Karl Malden are picking the Oscars again, and you apparently aren't allowed to have people arrested as a joke. All's well with the world.

As if everything else wasn't enough, the irritatingly-talented Malcolm Gladwell now has a blog. I've been avoiding his books in the vain hope that there's something about his style that won't carry over from New Yorker pieces to a longer form, but I'm gratified to see he's a fan of the hard salary cap.

(I did this with Jonathan Franzen, too, the avoiding. The critical reception for The Corrections was so goddamn effusive I refused to go near the thing for two years. When I did eventually crack it open, I found myself sitting on the subway muttering curses under my breath. Fuck! This is actually really good! I am not particularly proud of this.)

(Am I ripping off the "explosions" format? Sort of, but if you could patent the idea of the post-full-o'-links, that'd put paid to ninety percent of the world's blogs. Not that that would be a bad thing.)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Photoshop, Swearing, Jokes About Food. That's It. That's All You Need."

Since the latest indefinite hiatus over here, I have been desperately searching for an amusing basketball-related blog. Why this should inspire desperation is a mystery, but there you go. Anyway, the search is over.

It is an established fact that basketball has a much greater inherent comedy value than any other sport. If more baseball players did things like this, instead of just mooching around injecting each other with various types of steroid, I might care about baseball.