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Monthly Archives: August 2008

That’ll Leave a Mark

August 5th, 2008 - 7:48 am

Mickey Kaus has something he’d like to tell the MSM about the way it’s handled the John Edwards Affair:

If I wanted to be in that business I’d be a publicist.

Ouch.

Notes from the Anglosphere

August 5th, 2008 - 6:20 am

Is it time for India to send troops to Afghanistan?

And just how giant a step to solidifying the Anglosphere would that be?

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, R.I.P.

August 3rd, 2008 - 9:52 pm

How do people get to this clandestine Archipelago? Hour by hour planes fly there, ships steer their course there, and trains thunder off to it–but all with nary a mark on them to tell of their destination. And at ticket windows or at travel bureaus for Soviet or foreign tourists the employees would be astounded if you were to ask for a ticket to go there. They know nothing and they’ve never heard of the Archipelago as a whole or any one of its innumerable islands.

Those who go to the Archipelago to administer it get there via the training schools of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Those who go there to be guards are conscripted via the military conscription centers.

And those who, like you and me, dear reader, go there to die, must get there solely and compulsorily via arrest.

Arrest! Need it be said that it is a breaking point in your life, a bolt of lightning which has scored a direct hit on you? That it is an unassimilable spiritual earthquake not every person can cope with, as a result of which people often slip into insanity?

The Universe has as many different centers as there are living beings in it. Each of us is a center of the Universe, and that Universe is shattered when they hiss at you: “You are under arrest.”

If you are arrested, can anything else remain unshattered by this cataclysm?

But the darkened mind is incapable of embracing these displacements in our universe, and both the most sophisticated and the veriest simpleton among us, drawing on all life’s experience, can gasp out only: “Me? What for?”

And this is a question which, though repeated millions and millions of times before, has yet to receive an answer.

Arrest is an instantaneous, shattering thrust, expulsion, somersault from one state into another.

We have been happily borne—or perhaps have unhappily dragged our weary way—down the long and crooked streets of our lives, past all kinds of walls and fences made of rotting wood, rammed earth, brick, concrete, iron railings. We have never given a thought to what lies behind them. We have never tried to penetrate them with our vision or our understanding. But there is where the Gulag country begins, right next to us, two yards away from us. In addition, we have failed to notice an enormous number of closely fitted, well-disguised doors and gates in these fences. All those gates were prepared for us, every last one! And all of a sudden the fateful gate swings quickly open, and four white male hands, unaccustomed to physical labor but nonetheless strong and tenacious, grab us by the leg, arm, collar, cap, ear, and drag us in like a sack, and the gate behind us, the gate to our past life, is slammed shut once and for all.

That’s all there is to it! You are arrested!

And you’ll find nothing better to respond with than a lamblike bleat: “Me? What for?”

That’s what arrest is: it’s a blinding flash and a blow which shifts the present instantly into the past and the impossible into omnipotent actuality.

That’s all. And neither for the first hour nor for the first day will you be able to grasp anything else.

– opening to The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Tennessee moonshine

August 2nd, 2008 - 8:04 am

From the Knoxville News Sentinel comes a story about a fine old moonshiner named Charlie.

Folks really had to have a reason to go to Charlie Williams’ place outside Townsend.

It’s far enough off all beaten paths that they wouldn’t just stumble onto it by accident. But a lot of the folks who did come there had a reason, a good one. Charlie made what was considered some of the best hooch in the hills.

It’s a skill Charlie Williams learned at an age when today’s children are watching “SpongeBob SquarePants” and trading Pokemon cards.

And while Williams, who died in 1992 in an automobile accident, certainly was not alone in this area in the production of moonshine, three things about his operation stand out:

– His whiskey was as smooth as a baby’s cheeks.

– He employed sophisticated engineering skills in the placement and concealment of the still.

– He was never caught at it. He just retired.

Mmmm. Hooch.

Back in western Pennsylvania where I come from, we were familiar with those damned government revenuers too. The federal revenuers eventually won, and some say it’s been all downhill ever since.

The Real Ick

August 1st, 2008 - 1:18 pm

Dan Lyons’ “Fake Steve Jobs” blog was wicked brilliance. The audacity of portraying a billionaire CEO as a pot-smoking, acid-dropping, assassin-hiring, employee-terrorizing asshole perfectionist worked so well because it’s so true. And using the Real Fake Steve to skewer and satirize the tech news & players of the day made FSJ timely and funny.

A few weeks ago, Lyons dropped Fake Steve to become Real Dan Lyons. He can be interesting for sure, but funny? Yawn. Real Dan is just another cranky journalist.

I get enough of those already. Bookmark deleted.

Here We Go Again

August 1st, 2008 - 8:44 am

McCain’s “gas tax holiday?” Stupid.

Obama’s “windfall-profits-tax-as-welfare plan?” It’s LBJ meets Jimmy Carter — stupid and cunning at once.

This guy is dangerous.