Monthly Archives: October 2011

Check, Please

The Social Security system is now cash-negative, as reported today in the Washington Post. The shortfall will henceforward steepen sharply, as hordes of my own demographic cohort enter the twilight decades of unproductive geezerdom. Rick Perry was bastinadoed in the press for calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme”, but it’s hard to see in what […]

Sad Sack

I don’t know what to say about this, so I’ll just pass it along without comment.

Steve Jobs, Remembered

Here’s a eulogy to Steve Jobs, written by the sister he met for the first time as an adult. It was published in our “newspaper of record”, but for those of you who might not have access to their little walled garden, I’ve reproduced it in full below the fold. Related content from Sphere

Into The Sunset

Here’s an item for those of you with an interest in martial arts: the last surviving master of the Sikh fighting system shastar vidya. It’s sad to see these cultural relics dying out. Good to see, at least, that Llap-Goch is still alive and well. Related content from Sphere

A Man In Full

Are you a bluestocking conservative appalled by the ill-bred riff-raff on the GOP ticket? Worried that those Tea Party rabble are steering dangerously close to the wind, with too much sail and too little keel? You’re not alone — the same concerns have darkened cocktail-hour chats from Amagansett to Edgartown, from Princeton to Pawling to […]

Wake Of The Flood

Strong stuff yesterday from Andy McCarthy on our doings in Libya. Excerpt: [A] throng of seething Islamists stripped, beat, paraded, and finally shot Qaddafi execution-style, all the while screaming the signature “Allahu Akbar!” battle cry with a fervor that would have made Mohamed Atta blush. They then shoved the despot’s corpse into a refrigerator — […]

That’s Right, We Bad

In Genesis 1:26, God promised Man “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Here’s how it’s done. Related content from Sphere

“You’ve Changed…”

Here’s an awkward item courtesy of my son Nick, who’s now a senior staffer over at Wish I Didn’t Know. Don’t know about you, but I really hate it when this happens. Related content from Sphere

Another Look At Income Inequality

Over at the AEI blog, a new piece by Jim Pethokoukis calls into question some received wisdom about income inequality. Disappointingly, it carries a provocative title — 7 Reasons Why Obama Is Wrong About Income Inequality — but then, as one reader points out in the the comment thread, completely neglects to cite the particular […]

Interesting Times

If our previous item wasn’t gloomy enough for you, here’s a dark assessment of the gathering storm beyond our borders, from the Center For Security Policy. A longish excerpt: Muammar Gadhafi’s death last week prompted the Obama administration to trumpet the President’s competence as Commander-in-Chief and the superiority of his “small footprint,” “lead-from-behind” approach to […]

It Was A Bright Cold Day In April…

Streetlights are supposed to dispel gloom, but the new-and-improved ones described in this item are having the opposite effect on me, I’m afraid.

Current Event

A great wave of tsunami debris is heading east from Japan, it seems. Here.

That’s Rich

On Piers Morgan’s show last night, the pinguid propagandist Michael Moore insisted that that he is not a member of “the 1%”. According to IRS data, in 2009 the top one percent of earners reported an adjusted gross income of $343,927 or more. Mr. Moore is worth an estimated $50 million. Related content from Sphere

Declaration Of Dependence

Just in from ABC News: Obama warns us that if he loses in 2012 the US could be facing a “painful era of self-reliance”, and that we Americans would be “on our own”. If that frightens more people than it elates, this nation is doomed. *        *        * Update: In this afternoon’s Best of the Web, james […]

Och, Lassie – Dae Ye Nae Spick Sassenach?

Among the snazzier features of the new iPhone is a voice-activated assistant called Siri. My daughter has one of the new phones and gave me a demo the other day, and I was duly impressed (although this is obviously a technology that is still in its infancy). Apparently, though, Siri is having trouble adjusting to […]


25 years ago today.


Researchers at UC Berkeley have persuaded the Universe to disclose another of its secrets: the origin of Jewish humor. Story here. What’s that you say, boychik? You lack familiarity with the subject matter? Well relax, you’re mishpocheh, so for you, no charge. Look below the fold for a few free samples. Related content from Sphere

Well, Blow Me Down

Startlingly, it appears that the new government in Libya will be an Islamist arrangement, based on Sharia law. Vlad Tepes has a video clip, with translated subtitles, here.


OK, folks, I have what you’ve all been waiting for: the new Bohemian Rhapsody video from William Shatner — featuring John Wetton, no less. Enjoy.

Feat Of Clay

Here’s an entertaining link: a collection of outstanding stop-motion animations.


In Afghanistan, enemy fighters routinely shoot at our MEDEVAC helicopters — which, as a matter of Defense Department policy, fly unarmed, in conformance with Geneva Convention guidelines. The war correspondent Michael Yon has written an open letter to the President and the DOD arguing that this policy is absurd, and must be changed. Read it […]

Can’t Buy Me Love

It appears that the late Muammar Qaddafi was the richest person in the world, worth over $200 billion. Here.

Sam Harris On Consciousness, Cont’d

Sam Harris has just published a follow-up post about the mystery of consciousness. He is frankly pessimistic that any conceivable advances in neuroscience — and he is a neuroscientist — can ever lead us to the bridge we seek between our ever-richer model of the physical world and an understanding of subjective awareness: It is […]

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Muammar Qaddafi is dead. As we await the flowering of secular Jeffersonian democracy in Libya, let us pause to offer our condolences to senators Lieberman, Graham, and McCain. Related content from Sphere

World Wide Web

Interesting item from New Scientist: the global corporate network that dominates the world’s economy. Here.

Take That, Temple-Pants!

The Texan pastor Robert Jeffress caused quite a ruction last week with his endorsement of Rick Perry for the GOP nod. Mr. Jeffress said that he thought all good Christians should prefer a Christian as their president, and that in his opinion this disqualified Mitt Romney — because the “cult” of Mormonism is something other […]


Despite his strong position in the polls, Herman Cain may suddenly have a real problem on his hands. According to this item in the New York Times, his behavior has clearly strayed beyond what is approved and permitted for a member of his race. (Even beyond running as a Republican, I mean, which is of […]

In The Ocean Of The Blind…

…this guy‘s the king.

Yeah, That Qualifies

My friend and neighbor Danny Fisher started a website a few months ago called Wish I Didn’t Know. Here’s an item that really measures up.

Bibi Goes Soft

The captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit was released today, after five years of imprisonment by Hamas. His ransom? It included the release of 1,027 prisoners, many of them terrorists. Will some of the released prisoners commit further acts of terror, meaning that Shalit was ransomed with the blood of Jews yet to be murdered? Almost […]


Consciousness not mysterious enough for you? Well, NASA’s got 600 other puzzles for you to chew on. Here.

Sam Harris: Consciousness Is Puzzling

In his latest blog post, Sam Harris comments on the mystery of consciousness, and vaguely stakes out a position. One thing he does make quite clear is that he cannot accept what his friend Daniel Dennett seems to be saying, which is that consciousness is just some sort of illusion. In this he’s in good […]

No Mortal Place At All

Here’s a real treat: the great Gary Brooker at the peak of his powers, in this live performance of A Salty Dog from 1977.

I Am Here, And You Are My Sofa

It’s been a long busy day, with no time for writing. I did run across this little item, though, just now: a new approach to sorting out the various authors of the Bible. As I write, my friend G. Orcalimbo Jones at WOMR is playing Side 2 of Zappa’s One Size Fits All. What an […]

The Sound Of Mucus

I was looking at this website’s administrative “dashboard” yesterday, and noticed that I’ve accumulated 438 entries in the “Drafts” folder. I suppose it’s not uncommon for daily bloggers to build up a back-log in there; we’re always on the lookout for something to write about, and tend to become packrats. Whenever I get the germ […]

Bert Jansch, 1943 – 2011

We note, belatedly, the death of the great Scottish fingerstyle guitarist Bert Jansch, who exerted a formative influence on a great many better-known musicians. One in particular was Jimmy Page; I think you’ll hear the connection in this video clip. Another was Paul Simon; readers of a certain age may recognize this Jansch song from […]

Kurzweil’s Six Epochs

Here’s a short video from Ray Kurzweil, in which he outlines his view of our progress thorough six “epochs” of the evolution of intelligence. I’m inclined to think he’s overlooking or ignoring some serious possible impediments to this progression, going forward (not to mention some unwelcome possible outcomes), but this is of course just a […]


I’m working a long day today, so for now, just a few links: A fold in the brain seems to have something to do with distinguishing reality from imagination. A collection of “coffins” — math problems with relatively simple solutions that are hellishly difficult to find — used by Soviet schools to keep out Jews. […]

That’s A Fine Motorbike

Just ran across this clip, and enjoyed it too much not to post it here: Richard Thompson playing his classic 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. What a voice. What a song. Enjoy. Related content from Sphere

At The Brink

It seems unthinkable, but a familiar species that once could be found almost everywhere in the U.S. now stands on the verge of extinction. Story here.

Fast And Curious

Charles Krauthammer, of all people, shares a joke inspired by recent doings at CERN: “We don’t allow faster-than-light neutrinos in here,” says the bartender. A neutrino walks into a bar. Related content from Sphere


The Northeast has been enjoying a fantastic spell of weather lately. Here in the Outer Cape, today was simply perfect: low humidity, cloudless azure skies, warm sweet sunshine, and temperatures in the upper seventies, with a fragrant, balmy breeze as gentle as a baby’s breath. At Newcomb Hollow Beach, it felt more like August — […]

Hitch Lives

Update here.

French Twist

In our previous post about OWS, we linked to an item that’s been making the rounds today: this Huffington Post grumble from lesbian “electronic punk” musician JD Samson, who has become dissatisfied with how things are working out for her, affluence-wise. NRO’s Daniel Foster has add some pointed commentary over at the Corner. An excerpt: […]

OWS Roundup

The weather being particularly fine here in New York this week, with Gotham’s hibernal sleet and snow still well over the horizon, the occupation of Wall Street is humming along nicely, and has the attention of everyone in the chattering classes. (Including, obviously, my own.) As longtime readers will know, the lovely Nina and I […]

Hard To Believe

Richard Feynman on beauty, and doubt. Here.

Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

I’ve just heard sad news: Steve Jobs has died at 56. How brilliant he was.


Did you see this summer’s box-office smash, Fast Five? Me neither. But my sources tell me it was one of the best yet. If, like me, you’ve been wondering about the creative process behind a blockbuster like this, you should watch this fascinating interview with the film’s screenwriter, Chris Morgan. Related content from Sphere


In case you haven’t heard, the good folks at OccupyWallStreet have made public a list of their demands. Given their youthful zeal, I had been worried that their expectations might be excessive or unrealistic, but as you’ll see, it’s all modest, reasonable stuff. Here it is: Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand […]


Among the more interesting feeds to follow on Twitter is @GreatDismal, which belongs to William Gibson, the visionary sci-fi author and founder of “cyberpunk”. Today he linked to a story in Wired about something I’d never heard of: the enigmatic Soviet-era short-wave transmitter known to aficionados as “The Buzzer”. Learn more here. Related content from […]