You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2010.


Make a joke about Nietzsche and the eternal recurrence.  Problem: surely it’s been done before.


Make list of possible farewell sayings.  “Better to burn out than it is to rust.” “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”  “Here’s looking at you, kid.”   “It’s been emotional.” “Thumpity thump thump look at Frosty go.” Problem: there’s too many.


Have another cup of coffee.


Play around with formal ends of letters like in days of yore.  “Remember, gentleman, as you hit refresh, that I am pleased to remain, Yours, &c.”  Problem: would have to compose the rest of the letter, too.


Go on mad hunt for fugitive Christmas cookies.


Search wildly for an appropriate poem to parody.  Candidates: Hyperion, A Funeral Elegy, the Aeneid, the Odyssey.  Problem: pretentious, also “blogga feminaeque cano.”


Plainly:  I’d rather take a break before it becomes a chore or I start posting pictures of cats.  Thanks for reading; see you around some time maybe.

On he flared….


I think what Vance says clearly goes for most of us here. It’s for many and various reasons but things have slowed nearly to a stop, and they might as well go all the way. Maybe there’s no point in saying so; by custom there’s nothing to spur a poster to action like declaring a hiatus. But there it is. We associate the West with new beginnings, but also the end of the day, and maybe we have got there.

On November 7, 1962, Richard Nixon conceded his loss to Pat Brown in the race for governor of California, saying famously, “You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” In 1963, after the assassination of President Kennedy, the Beat poet Bob Kaufman (pictured) took a vow of complete silence, spoken and written.† And in 1982, after four years as governor, Pat Brown’s son Jerry decided not to run for a third term, instead running for the Senate, losing to Pete Wilson, and withdrawing to study Buddhism in Japan.

In that spirit, it’s time for me to sign off. This has been a marvelous blog, and I’ve been happy to contribute to it. Cheers all, and see you in the ether.

† Which he kept until 1975, when he walked into a coffeeshop in North Beach and recited a poem.

In Britain, a rise in university tuition sparks riots.

So tonight President Obama appeared on Mythbusters, asking Adam and Jamie to revist the Archimedes death ray, which they had tested and busted twice before.

Which is to say, Barack Obama got some of the country’s coolest and most creative people to implement a policy that had already, for known and well established reasons, failed. Twice.

I’m sure it wasn’t meant as a metaphor.

Roger Ebert writes about the patriarchy.

I am not concerned so much with Church teachings, but with the way men’s minds work. To put it bluntly, I believe the world is patriarchal because men are bigger and stronger than women, and can beat them up.

And he watches the Blair/Hitchens debate.

The most stimulating thing about the debate was that it was held at all. How often do we ever hear fundamental questions debated in a civil manner between intelligent speakers? Would there be an audience on cable for weekly debates between college teams? In America, debating was the leading intercollegiate sport before the introduction of football.

Blair and Hitchens made points one might agree with, and points one might not. At one point, Hitchens asked Blair a question that hung in the air for a second and went unanswered, because Blair must have had no answer. This was the question:

“Is it good for the world to consider women as an inferior form, as all religions do?”

Of course the “we” who held the debate are Canadians.

Sometime commenter and we hope still friend of this blog zunguzungu has an extended analysis of Julian Assange’s stated motives for building WikiLeaks (and on twitter) (which Joe Lieberman may have got kicked off Amazon’s servers). It was well worth my time to read the whole thing, but in brief Assange sees the US government, or large parts of it, as a conspiracy that depends on the secrecy and integrity of its communications to function. Leaking therefore need not disclose any particularly valuable piece of information to render the conspiracy vulnerable.

You destroy the conspiracy, in other words, by making it so paranoid of itself that it can no longer conspire….

zunguzungu points out that Theodore Roosevelt might have approved. Of WikiLeaks, that is; not of Lieberman.

this isn’t actually true.  The federal government requires lots of things to prove that a foreigner wishing to qualify for a spousal visa is in a legitimate marriage, but there is actually no requirement to prove that you’re having sex.  Shared finances, yes.  Shared residence, yes.  Tax returns, yes.  Proof of a commingled life, yes.  Letters of support that you present yourselves as a married couple, yes. Sex tape? No.

(It’s not cynical if you think about it.  It is compatible with a fraudulent marriage that the two people could be copulating like rabbits; but it’s less likely if the two are sharing their money.)

This is not a defense of DOMA; people arguing that gay people could always commit immigration fraud to get a green card are making an exceedingly stupid argument.  Any marriage would have to be entered into for bonafide reasons to qualify for a green card, i.e., excluding immigration benefits.  So the argument has to be that DOMA’s effect on immigration policy is fair, because gay people could always… commit fraud to get around the exclusion.

This is officially an award-winning blog

HNN, Best group blog: "Witty and insightful, the Edge of the American West puts the group in group blog, with frequent contributions from an irreverent band.... Always entertaining, often enlightening, the blog features snazzy visuals—graphs, photos, videos—and zippy writing...."