Thursday, April 26, 2007

American Idol

Sure I watch the show. I'm up for any opportunity musical folks can get to show their stuff. Somewhat as an aside, that's why, unlike a lot of pro and semi-pro musicians, I strongly support karaoke. Skilled backup is hard to find when you're a singer, and I've seen many people become excellent singers through karaoke--and without it, they'd never have been able to pull it off. American Idol is kinda karaoke on steroids, so fine with me.

Anyways, there are two acts whose tunes you do at your peril. With Elvis or The Beatles, you have only two choices as a performer: you do them as an exactly spot on copy, or you do something remarkable with their tunes that makes (as they say) your own. The first option is difficult; the second is incredibly risky, and middle ground just won't do.

I think Melinda Doolittle is an awesome vocal power, but still, this from Jordin Sparks is an option #2 total victory (I have no idea how long FOX will allow this video to stay's properly their choice--I hope they leave it):

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Nicely put.

The "gun-free zone" fraud isn't just about banning firearms or even a symptom of academia's distaste for an entire sensibility of which the Second Amendment is part and parcel but part of a deeper reluctance of critical segments of our culture to engage with reality.

Mark Steyn.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Right to Cower, Barricade or Run

From a reader's email about the Virginia Tech situation at Michelle Malkin's blog.

We heard pretty much continuous shooting for the next minute or so, and I said, "Shouldn't we barricade the door," because we were sitting ducks with no way out inside that room if he opened the door. A couple more people floated the idea that "We need to barricade the door, NOW." But I was too scared to even move, much less move the teacher's desk.

Finally one of the guys in the front of the classroom was brave enough to get up and move the desk in front of the door to prevent outside entry. About twenty seconds later, the shooter rattled the doorknob trying to get in. When he couldn't get in he fired two shots through the door (single solid piece of wood) and left. We heard him go in to 206 (the room across the hall) and shoot the people in that room. If we hadn't put the barricade up when we did, I and all my classmates would be dead.

(italic emphasis mine)

Not really a funny day, but still...

I read this in the comments section at FARK:

Average murder per 100,000 residents in counties won by Bush: 2.1; average murder per 100,000 residents in counties won by Gore: 13.2.

But I thought I'd check. Here's the skinny..

The county-by-county murder-rate comparison presented in this piece is wrong. The actual overall average rate is 5.5, but the average of 2.1 and 13.2 is 7.65, which is too high.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), in the year 2000 the national murder rate was about 5.5 per 100,000 residents. Homicide data by county for 1999 and 2000 can be downloaded from the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NAJCD), and the counties won by Gore and Bush can be identified using the county-by-county election results made available by CNN. (The NACJD provides not only the number of reported murders for each county, but also the population for each.) The average murder rate in the counties won by Gore vs. the rate in the counties won by Bush can be determined from this data. By calculating the murder rate for each county and then taking the averages, we find a murder rate (defined as number of murders per 100,000 residents) of about 5.2 for the "average" Gore county and 3.3 for the average Bush county. But since people, rather than counties, commit murders, a more appropriate approach is to calculate the total number of murders in the counties won by each candidate and divide that figure by the total number of residents in those counties. This more appropriate method yields the following average murder rates in counties won by each candidate:

Gore: 6.5
Bush: 4.1

There is a distinct difference between these two numbers, but it is nowhere near as large as the quoted...message states (i.e., 13.2 for Gore vs. 2.1 for Bush). Note that the average of these two figures is 5.3, which, as expected, is very close to the reported national murder rate of 5.5.

Draw any conclusions you'd like ;-)

Virginia Tech

My sincere condolences to the families and friends of the dead and injured at Virginia Tech. I wouldn't do this right now, but some yahoos are already trying to use this as an excuse to disarm future victims, so...

I'll put this succinctly. I don't own a gun--never have. I don't want a gun. Right now anyways.

But I damn well think law-abiding citizens have the right to return absolutely overwhelmingly superior firepower when threatened by criminals.

But you're always hearing "but a bad guy did this with a gun". Well, bad guys have always been doing bad things with weapons. Duh.

That's no reason to disarm the law-abiding folks. Actually, it's a reason not to.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I call Bullshit.

Subprime Bailout noises HERE at CNN...

...talking about government assistance to bail out home purchase lenders and borrowers.

Why in HELL should people who made the sometimes difficult but responsible decision not to borrow beyond their means, which in many cases meant continuing to pay rent with no chance of gaining equity, have to bail out folks who made a bad business decision?

Subprime bailout? $120 billion
More than 1 million borrowers may be at risk of defaulting on their mortgages. Assisting them all wouldn't come cheap.

I don't care even if it would be cheap.

Maybe if more than a million people actually had to pay for their bad economic decisions, those folks would make better decisions in the future. But in any case, there is no good reason to saddle innocent people with the cost of repairing this mess. Let the folks who did it clean up after themselves.

As an aside (and it doesn't change the principle of the thing), I don't think many (any) of those folks at risk for default were gonna be wildly sharing the equity and profits they'da made if the market had gone like they'd gambled.

Friday, April 13, 2007

There is something very right and wonderful...

...about Pakistani civilians picking up weapons to protect transsexuals against the Taliban.

Good on ya, citizens of Lakki Marwat and I assure you I am not being the slightest bit sarcastic here. You have every reason to take pride in what you did. Thank you.

From Samizdata: "Cowardice does not make you safe. It makes you a safe target - D.Amon"

Never be a safe target. Bees like flowers, but that's not why people leave them alone.


Imus on satellite. Fast.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Read this.

Jason Whitlock: Imus Isn't The Real Bad Guy

From the article:

We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There’s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.
Earlier (same article) Mr Whitlock noted:

It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.
I don't think it's exactly that, but he's not barking up the wrong tree. It's not prison culture--it's specifically a criminal/thug/klepto culture that tells people they have a right to the results of accomplishment without any of the integrity and effort that makes those results legitimate or, really, even possible over anything except the very short term. Let's face it, stealing a Rembrandt doesn't make you a collector; it makes you an asshole. Painting one, or gaining one by honest trade or agreement; now, that's an accomplishment.

But don't you go thinking this is just about black culture. It's not, not by a long shot. The problem is everywhere and so it's there too, like it is where you and I live.


Al Roker writes that there is no joy in what has transpired [to Imus]


Yeah it was not the nicest thing I ever heard, but...

There's all sorts of folks "surfin' the outrage" as if this is all worth so much kerfuffle. Fuck that. It's a bunch of hypocritical PC candy-ass grandstanders--and Jackson and especially Sharpton are fucking hypocrites who know that they've said worse and that if punishments were fair, Imus would be out of the woods while they were still buried in 'em.

Sickening opportunistic bandwagon jockeying. Oughtta be an event at the Calgary Stampede: That was 7 rough seconds on Poor Injured Feelings, a nasty mare outta South Central Ottawa, Bobby-Jim...

However, it is so nice to see PC/leftist tolerance and all that hogwash. Let's not get all out-of-sorts about things like seeing folks hit an innocent trucker in the head with FUCKING BRICKS (and people actually justifying it, many of 'em exactly the same kinda PC/leftist-apologist fuckheads now getting so upset with Imus), or what the Duke 3 went through including the commentators who guiltified them in the press before the (I was gonna say trial--but it never even got that far, did it) truth came out, or Sharpton's rage-surfing of that Tawana Brawley story from a few years go. After all: IMUS said a No-No...

Hypocritical opportunist fucking drama-queens at worst. Fucking drama queens at best.

Please visit Billy Beck's Two-Four where he offers much more insight on this (including this gem from Two-Four):

"It has also empowered Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to be the arbiters of political correctness, which I find to be disgusting and I find ironic and hypocritical."
(Niger Innis -- Congress of Racial Equality, [quoted from] MSNBC TV)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What is seen and what is unseen

The brilliance of Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) plays out once again...

First, check this article: The Ethanol Food Crisis by Peter Corcoran/Financial Post.

then, if you wish, this past blog post of mine: here

Now read Bastiat's What is Seen and What is Unseen

More, and more about, Bastiat here.

Apply Bastiat's views classically liberally.

Oshawa looks to Ban Toy Guns


Oshawa is following in the footsteps of Scugog Township, north of the city, which was one of the first Ontario municipalities to institute such a bylaw. Since early last year, those under the age of 18 have been prohibited from possessing a replica firearm while on public property or on private property where the public has general access.

Roy Rogers is rolling around laughing in his grave.

Scary, huh.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Adam Gussow's Keys to the Kingdom...

This is between you and me.

Adam Gussow is a heckuva harp player. Me, I'm OK, too but Adam is one of the special ones.

So here's what the bugger does:

He lays out on YouTube over 40 lessons about how to play blues harp, from very very beginner to certified screamin' funkmonkey, and he does it in a way that pretty much means that if you can see and hear, you'll get it. Probably quickly.


The whole shmoo: tone, technique, equipment, effects and tricks. Whammo. Not all there is but so close to it y'can feel the breeze. Mr. Gussow mentions he thinks a dedicated type could put it all together enough for pro work in about two years. I think he's right.

The lessons are organized, easy to follow and thorough. I've played for maybe 40 years as a pro and semi-pro and I'm quite decent. I learned very useful new-to-me stuff in lesson two.

I'm certainly not going to support competition in my trade by constantly reminding people about Adam's near-total destruction of the market for blues harmonica teachers in the english speaking world. There is no way I will constantly repeat that I've never encountered better lessons, nor will I unfailingly be advising readers that so far in the series a student requires 10-hole diatonic harmonicas in the keys of Bb, C, D and I think F and G. It would be foolish if I repeated further that the Bb will get a person through the first 10-15 lessons or so.

It would only be adding to the damage were I to even occasionally reiterate that it'd be an idea to get a good harp to start, at least the quality of the quite serviceable Suzuki Harpmaster or better. Adam uses Hohner Marine Bands/Model 1896 (not my first choice, but they're good pro level harps).

Bottom line: I teach harmonica and if you want to play well, you don't really need me anymore. I'll be happy to help, but almost everything you'd want to know is in these lessons, and everything you need to know is right out in the open.

There. I've told you.

The blues harp keys to the kingdom are laying out in plain view.

Don't let this news get out.

And don't expect me to remind you.

So ya wander the blogosphere...

and bump into this by way of Tom Scott, commenting at QandO

L’Eggo My Lego in TCS Daily reports on the Lego ban at Hilltop Children’s Center in Seattle: Teachers at the private school wanted children — most from upper-middle-class white families — to learn about “the inequities of private ownership.”
Like I'm surprised.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

This Isn't New But It's Important.

The Postmodernism Generator

capable of this:

*Objectivism in the works of Gaiman*
*Ludwig I. BaileyDepartment of Literature, University of North Carolina*

An excerpt: Thus, Foucault uses the term ‘postmaterialist theory’ to denote not sublimation, as neosemioticist capitalist theory suggests, but neosublimation. The premise of Lacanist obscurity suggests that culture is part of the failure of narrativity.

(paraphrased) Note: "The excerpt you have read is completely meaningless and was randomly generated by the Postmodernism Generator. To generate another essay, follow this link." (paraphrased)

Michelle Malkin by way of FARK

Michelle Malkin by way of FARK

Liberal bloggers discover web misogyny...

Go visit Michelle's site and update yourself on the liberal-left's very selective rage.

Kinda reminds me of all the Democratic feminist Clinton supporters tripping all over their past quotes and back-pedalling like mad when their Alpha-Male in Chief decided to share sexual pleasure with Ms. Lewinsky (otherwise, woulda been "when he grotesquely abused the work-place power relationship to satisfy the most base of his carnal desires" or some such rot--you know the stuff they trotted out when it was a conservative judge they were gunning for).

Actually, I gotta thank Bill Clinton for that--he pretty much did to wacky-left feminists what hip-hop/MTV did to hair bands--and just as quickly.