August 11, 2011

Disappointed in Portland

Yesterday, driving back from the shops, I turned on the radio to find Socialist Workers Party member Richard Seymour and Darcus Howe talking claptrap about the UK riots on OPB.

I didn't travel 5,000 miles for this!

July 15, 2011

Top presidents

So, I asked the Big Fella for his three favorite U.S. presidents. He's sixteen now and already knows a lot more about American political and economic history than I do, which makes having political conversations with him somewhat daunting.

Anyway, these are his picks:

1. Grover Cleveland
2. Calvin Coolidge
3. Warren G Harding

Not the kind of list you'd expect from your average teenager!

July 13, 2011

Religious freedom

Followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster rejoice!

From the Telegraph: Austria recognizes the right of a Pastafarian to wear a pasta strainer on his head for his driving licence photo.

July 12, 2011

Pinker animated

An RSAnimate of Steven Pinker talking about some of the ideas in his book "The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature".

Tuesday roundabout

At CIF: Omid Djalili on the plight of the Bahá'í in Iran.

At Harry's Place: Flaming Fairy on the UK's Equalities and Human Rights Commission's seeming preference for religious rights over gay rights.

According to calculations at Bad Astronomy, it's been a Neptunian year since the planet was discovered.

Did I miss Talk Like A Pirate Day? Ms Baroque was in bucaneering mode Saturday and Sunday.

And finally,

T-shirt of the day at Sense of Events.

July 11, 2011


When I saw this at xkcd, I knew a post about it at Language Log would soon follow.

June 25, 2011

Down in Dingle

Lisa Hannigan at Dick Mack's pub.

Saturday roundabout

James Lileks takes a look at representations of 1950s suburbia.

Neo-neocon revisits some of John Updike's non-fiction.

Language Log: writing "going to" for "gonna".

Lee Goldberg at the WSJ pays tribute to Peter Falk's Columbo.

And finally,

Lionel likes it! Poliwood reviews "Bridesmaids".

June 10, 2011

Poetry corner

I've only just come across this, so excuse me if it's old hat, but Taylor Mali has his own YouTube channel.

You'll find more than just Taylor Mali there, including: Sarah Kay, Rives and Marty McConnell.

Check it out! And while you're there, you might help Taylor Mali in his quest for a thousand teachers.

June 07, 2011

Right Wing Radio Duck

Boy, am I behind the times! I only just came across this inspired Disney/Glenn Beck mashup. [h/t The Wardman Wire]

Tuesday roundabout

Talking Turkey: Michael Totten interviews City Journal's Claire Berlinski.

Bad Astronomy features stunning time lapse images of the Milky Way.

Baroque in Hackney has a link-filled tribute to Gil Scott-Heron.

Impatience and Wisdom: Cobb just turned 50.

And finally,

Sciencepunk has a recipe for desserts that look like bacterial cultures.

March 31, 2011

Scratch & Dent Dreams

Eric Darby at the 2005 National Poetry Slam.

March 30, 2011

Doctrine! What doctrine?

From today's New York Times:
In laying out his justification for the American-led assault on Libya on Monday night, the president offered the most detailed portrait of when he might commit the country’s military might in a tumultuous world.

He would take action, he said, if vital national security interests were at stake. He would consider it if economic interests were threatened, or if there was a humanitarian crisis so deep it could not be ignored. But in those two instances, he would hesitate unless there was international participation, and the cost was not too high.

But these conditions seemed tailor made for Libya, and the president seemed to provide little guidance for what position he would take in other, more vital nations in the region[.]
The money quote (from David J. Rothkopf):
If there were ever a speech more dedicated to eliminating the idea of a doctrine, this was it.

Computer computer computer

I just got my computer back from the shop - that's the third time it's been in since I bought it a couple of weeks ago.

If you're looking to buy gum, Office Depot sells it. For anything else, I'd shop elsewhere.

March 27, 2011

English teeth

In the first of a series on American dentistry, June Thomas at Slate recounts her experience growing up in England.
[E]veryone in my family, and every other adult that I grew up around, had false teeth by the time they were 30.
I didn't even own a toothbrush—my parents had never brushed their teeth, and as adults their oral hygiene was achieved by soaking rather than brushing. I'd never even heard of dental floss, and I ate far too much candy. I prefer not to think about the excruciating pain that decay and resulting abscesses caused—pain that you can hear, that stops the world, that makes listening to the teacher or concentrating on homework impossible
I think English dentistry and general oral hygiene have improved a lot since those days. Nevertheless, one of the first things I did when I got to the States was have some dental work done.

And I've still got English teeth.

Weekend reading

Man, Economy, and State by Murray Rothbard

The Ludwig von Mises Institute lecture series on economics

That's not my weekend reading, by the way - that's the Big Fella's reading list (he turned 16 in January). And he's not actually reading the LMI lectures - he listens to them on his iPod when he's walking to and from school.

Looks like I've raised a libertarian. How'd that happen?

March 26, 2011

Paradise in Portland

Heaven is a Jewish deli on Eleventh and Stark (right on the edge of Downtown) called Kenny and Zuke's.

And really, you can quote me on this, their pastrami is to die for!
Cured 7 days, Smoked 10 hours, Steamed for 3 hours & Hand-sliced Just for You.
Oh, and their Reubens are legendary.

March 25, 2011

Friday roundabout

At the Spectator: Alex Massie on the intervention in Lybia.

Harry's Place has a piece on Mary Gardner, the Scottish woman murdered in Wednesday’s bomb attack in Jerusalem.

Zoe Brain on challenging social and ideological monocultures.

Some thoughts on religion and community at Evolutionblog.

And finally,

Glimpses of Isadora Duncan at Neo-neocon.

March 24, 2011

Something Stupid

On ukulele! And it's an absolute delight.

Rainy day news

So, I haven't posted for fifteen months. That's a personal record!

And I'm not in England anymore; I'm in Portland, Oregon. I've been here three weeks and, I have to say, I'm loving it and have no intention of leaving anytime soon.

Of course, they told me it would be wet here, they just didn't tell me how wet. Every time I step out of my hotel I get rained on. Portlanders don't seem at all bothered by it - if you carry an umbrella around here, it's likely you're from out of town.

The other day, I was caught in a huge downpour, got drenched, took refuge in a cafe. I was saturated - so wet I was dripping all over the menu and a small puddle from the runoff was forming under my chair. But, when I mentioned the weather to my waitress, all I got back was: "Ya, it's fairly moist today."

And there was me thinking only the English possessed such mastery of understatement.