Things to read

Seeds of Our Demise 2 Comments »

I must get this book. (Via one of Ann Althouse’s commenters. Oh, and you really must read not only her takedown of Richard Cohen, whose photo should be used to illustrate the concept of “narcissism” in all good dictionaries, but also John Weidner’s over at Random Jottings. It’s true that Cohen is such a dolt that it’s too easy to smack him around, but his carapace of smug ignorance is so thick that doing so is a public service.)

Related: don’t use these words. Really. Just–don’t.

Orange you glad I didn’t make another pun?

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Hey, you know that guy with the “Death to all Juice” sign? Are we so sure that this guy wasn’t pulling some sort of sarcastic prank? It just seems too perfectly moronic. Wouldn’t a real Jew-hating Islamic retard have misspelled the word so that it didn’t make a completely other real word that could make the phrase into an obvious joke? (Like — “Death to the Juse,” or something like that.) Or am I hoping for too much from humanity again. All I know is — trust no one, and don’t trust them on the internet twice.

Bad House

Seeds of Our Demise 13 Comments »

No, not the tv doctor — an actual house that is bad. It’s not the only one of its kind either — these beasts are legion. I should know; I worked for a company that built them.

I guess I don’t understand people. They want houses like these. (My ex-employer insisted we call them “homes,” but nothing will make these dreadful boxes homes for people — only for their precious vehicles, which get the lion’s share of the square footage devoted to them, I will now point out. Your SUV and your Lexus graciously allow you to attach some extra drywall to their home so you can be available to give them their weekly rubdown with Turtle Wax and Armor-all. No I don’t know if that is how you spell the products and I don’t care.)

Anyway, if you watch HGTV and that Fine Living channel, as I do because I have no life, you will be presented with the sort of people who want houses like these. According to House Hunters, this is what Americans want: big closets, for all the clothing they don’t wear and to stash the suitcases for those trips they can no longer afford to go on because all their money goes into paying the mortgage off of their huge swollen residence. Oh wait — the closets are for the wife’s clothing and gear. Dad is lucky if he gets the hall coat closet. Also: Americans want nice kitchen countertops made of something expensive. And they want vast, huge, gigantic kitchens for all those dinner parties for visiting dignitaries that they plan to throw. How my parents got by with a tiny, coffin-shaped galley kitchen tacked onto the side of their 1925 Florida “Boomer” home I’ll never know. Frankly the idea of traipsing across the acreage of the average modern kitchen today just to fix breakfast for the average American family of husband and 2.5 kids exhausts me, not to mention having to polish all that gleaming granite.

Americans also want that ugly bonus room, for one of three purposes: to give the kids yet another room besides their bedrooms (in my early childhood I didn’t even have my own bedroom, I had to share with my sister, but then again we didn’t have enough toys to fill a cruise ship either, and few of our toys needed an electric plug much less their own power plant like all the Wiis, Nintendos, computers, kiddie laptops, musical “instruments” that are just computerized guitar- and keyboard-shaped things, and so on); for a family “home theater” (in addition to all the other rooms including, these days, the kitchen and bathrooms, that also have their own television sets); or a den for Dad if the home has no basement.

No matter how many people are in the family, what is wanted now is twice as many bedrooms, because Mom needs a “craft” room, and they also need a guestroom for relatives, friends, and so on. Every single bedroom needs its own bathroom, and also there will be an extra “powder room” because God forbid anyone be further than five steps away from a toilet. Considering the amount of liquid people drink these days in just soda and water I’m not surprised. (On a side note, check out this old Pepsi commercial (via James Lileks). Look at the tinyness of the cups they are drinking the iceless Pepsi from. Those can’t be more than ten ounce glasses. People these days don’t give cups that small to anyone over the age of four. And we wonder why there are so many bladder-control commercials on tv?)

Anyway, people want all this stuff in their houses, but most of all they want that giant garage. I understand the need to protect today’s cars and trucks from the weather. Cars aren’t made of steel like they used to be, but fragile junk that costs a mint to fix or replace. Also cars are even more of a status symbol these days. It used to be that the average middle class family was expected to own one sober sedan or station wagon, until Junior came of age when he was expected to buy a pile of junk to practice on until he grew up, got married, got a job, and could afford a sober sedan or station wagon of his own. (Miss Junior was supposed to have a boyfriend to drive her around in his dad’s sedan or his own pile of junk, often referred to as a “jalopy.”) Nowadays everyone in the house of driving age is expected to have their own new or barely used car, and it will have a payment plan on it little less than the mortgage on the house, and the garage will have to be able to accomodate at least two or three cars.

The soulless, giant houses make the “cracker boxes” of Levittown look like hobbit cottages. They have no character — what sort of character can take root in drywall? They do have nice bathrooms, though, and the master bath will have a spa tub you could float the Bismarck in. At least the fashion for sunken living rooms seems to have disappeared sometime in the Eighties. I went to a Thanksgiving dinner at a house like that once. I fell into the sunken living room and nearly broke my kneecap.

Oh, burn…

Seeds of Our Demise 11 Comments »

A woman who has never wanted for anything in her life thinks she can speak for us all just because she’s been in a movie with the current governor of California. Thus spaketh Jamie Lee Curtis on the current economic troubles:

What this crisis is going to do is bring us into financial alignment. Families may have to live together again! What a concept. Grandparents will live with their grown children and help raise their grandchildren — even at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Neighbors are going to meal share and carpool and child care for each other and maybe even rent out parts of homes to other families. Less meat, more beans. Might be better for you anyway. Less indoor gym workouts and more walking, more park time, more family outdoor time.

You first, Princess.

I can speak from experience — real experience, recorded on this here blog — that not having enough money to pay rent on time isn’t a thrilling adventure, especially when you don’t have any living nearby relatives to move in on; and not being able to afford to eat anything but the cheapest, crappiest food isn’t “better for you” — living on nothing but beans, rice, and pasta makes you tired, gassy, and fat. And so on and so forth.

Her father, Tony Curtis, grew up poor in the Bronx, and had to work his way up in Hollywood. We’ll probably never know, but I wonder what he would have to say to his daughter’s silly paean to the sort of widespread struggle and poverty that thanks to her father she has never had to experience.


My new pet hate

Seeds of Our Demise 3 Comments »

…is the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons.” I’m refusing to even give it the official Italics of Titledom, because that title is just so twee and precious that I want to step on it with a pair of very large boots until I squish it. I don’t even know what the movie’s about — some romantic vehicle with a goofy time-warp gimmick for Brad Pitt (who does nothing for me, and in fact makes me less of a woman every time I see his supposedly sexy mug on my tv screen). It’s got Cate Blanchett in it too, who is starting to look less like a nice elfin queen and more like skinny, unhealthy boy every time I see her. Anyway, I really hate Oscar season. Every single movie out there, including Zombie Bordello of Death VIII, gets a “critics are raving” spot every five minutes on every single station. Some of these movies haven’t come out yet, and possibly are still in pre-production, but critics are already salivating over them and want you, the person watching the Law and Order: Criminal Intent marathon on Bravo to know all about it. It’s wasted on me, because I don’t go to the theater any more and wouldn’t even rent the current crop of talking pictures from Netflix. Who are the sheeple who make money for these things? I can’t imagine them appealing to anyone with the IQ of canned asparagus, much less a person with a job who can afford to go to the movies.

Assault with a deadly weapon

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Kathy’s gonna love this:

A teenager has been sentenced to four days in jail for smearing peanut butter on the forehead of another youth he knew was allergic to peanuts.

Investigators say that during lunch at Wenatchee High School on Sept. 8, Hickson heard a conversation in which it was mentioned that a student sitting near him was allergic to peanuts.

Hickson then grabbed someone’s peanut butter sandwich and wiped some of the peanut butter on the boy’s forehead.

The boy did not suffer an allergic reaction, but told police he had suffered a severe reaction to peanuts in the past.

Right. (Via.)

Kwanzaa — good riddance to bad rubbish

Seeds of Our Demise 5 Comments »

Please let the door hit it in the ass on its way out.

Christmas Message from Tehran

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So the UK’s Channel 4 bigwigs have decided that the best person to give their “alternative Christmas greeting” (alternative to the Queen’s customary Christmas greeting tv appearance over there, for those of my readers who don’t follow the doings of the tattered remnants of the former British Empire) is Iran’s president — or whatever he is — Ahmadinejad. I guess they were inspired by this e-card from Jibjab. Who says that Old Media doesn’t know how to use the internet?

(More commentary at Kathy Shaidle’s, Damian Penny’s, and Tim Blair’s websites)

Why I am single

Seeds of Our Demise No Comments »

Well, here’s one reason: Jeanette Winterson was my ex-fiancé’s favorite author. He wrote his master’s thesis on her. (Some mishmash of her and Chaucer that I carefully did not inquire into too deeply. Actually, I didn’t inquire into a lot of things about my ex too deeply. I think that’s why I managed to keep my sanity.)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

What Would Tyler Durden Drive?

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A human fat-powered car.

(Via Tim Blair.)