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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Klingon Style

September 30th, 2012 - 6:05 am
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I suppose this was inevitable.

(H/T, Dalrymple.)

Jazz and Cocktails

September 29th, 2012 - 3:00 pm

I’m going to make you read the text before we get to the video for this one, because it took me a long time to understand why I love this record so much — and maybe I can bring you up to speed in just a couple minutes.

Cole Porter wrote one of the great American songs with “Night And Day,” from Gay Divorce. I’ve never seen the show, but I bet I’ve heard the song more than a thousand times, and by too many artists to count. But none compares to this concert version by Frank Sinatra.

It might seem strange with his extensive touring history, but in 1962 Sinatra had yet to put on a show in Paris, which he decided to make a part of a new European tour. You usually think of Sinatra as the guy easy in front of a massive swing band, but he did something different that year. He put together a band, Sextet, which is exactly what it sounds like — a small jazz combo. None of the six members had ever been part of a band together before, but most of them had played with Frank. That common bond turned them into a real band, instantly. I don’t know how large the concert hall was, but the music and the vocals are as intimate as a candlelit dinner for two.

Sinatra only recorded two other concert albums. Sinatra at the Sands is a still-beloved collaboration with bandleader Count Basie and arranger-conductor Quincy Jones. Can you imagine that much firepower on one stage? It remains one of the great concert albums of all time, even though it consists of selections recorded over a month of concerts, rather than a record of a single show. It was released in 1966 as the second part of Sinatra’s 50th birthday package, which began the previous year with September Of My Years.

The Main Event was Frank’s final concert album, and the less said about it, the better. It sold like crazy, but I find it absolutely unlistenable. Sinatra hits half of the songs with brutal bombast, as if he were trying to fill the whole of Madison Square Garden without the aid of amplifiers. And without any of the tenderness typical to his phrasing. On the other songs he just sounds tired. Good lord, but it’s crap. Anyway.

Although Sinatra & Sextet: Live in Paris was recorded as a single set in ’62, it didn’t get a commercial release for more than 30 years. Fans had to wait until 1994 to hear some of the best concert material he ever recorded. It’s light, it’s breezy, it’s jazzy. It’s fun. Sinatra is clearly playing up his jazz chops, bending more notes than Salvador Dali did clocks.

The concert also shows Sinatra at the peak of his powers: As his voice was settling into an easy baritone, but before it lost its subtleties to whiskey and cigarettes. Frank’s phrasing was never better than it was during this era, either. “This era” running from the mid ’50s through the mid ’60s, from In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning on through to September Of My Years.

Now when I said this version of “Night And Day” was a Sinatra record, that’s not quite right. Really, this is a jazz duet between Sinatra and his longtime guitar player, Al Viola. Did I say “guitar player?” No, that phrase won’t do. Viola here is Frank’s guitar accompanist. These two play off each other exquisitely, resulting in something that makes me stop and listen — really listen — every single time it comes on. Enjoy, then we’ll get to this week’s cocktail.

Wow.

Every. Single. Time.

For this, we need something Frank himself drank and helped to make famous. It’s a variation on last week’s cocktail, and it’s the Dry Manhattan.

You’ll need:

2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce dry vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
lemon peel garnish

Fill your cocktail shaker halfway with ice, pour in your bourbon and vermouth, then hit it with the bitters. Stir, very gently, until well chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass, then garnish. Feel free to have some fun with the garnish, too. I’ve seen bartenders do some crazy stuff with a lemon peel.

Here’s the one I just made.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take another listen to Frank & Al.

The Week in Blogs

September 29th, 2012 - 7:01 am
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Friday Night Videos

September 28th, 2012 - 10:46 pm
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Donald Fagen has a new CD due out in a couple weeks, and if you know me you know I couldn’t hit the pre-order button fast enough.

So tonight, let’s go to a cut from his first solo album, The Nightfly. We have here a tender little song about a high school hipster throwing a party in his parents’ bomb shelter in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis as a pretext for getting into the pants of a hot blonde.

And this is why I love Donald Fagen.

Fox News Show Car Chase Suicide Live

September 28th, 2012 - 2:04 pm

I don’t know if you saw it or not. If not, you can Google that stuff or just go to BuzzFeed, but I won’t be providing any links. Anyway, here’s Shep Smith on what happened:

“Well, some explaining to do. While we were taking that car chase and showing it to you live when the guy pulled over and got out of the vehicle, we went on delay. That‘s why I didn’t talk for about 10 seconds. We created a five-second delay as if you were to bleep back your DVR five seconds, that was what we did with the picture we were showing you so that we would see in the studio what was happening five seconds before you did, so that if anything went horribly wrong we’d be able to cut away from it without subjecting you to it and we really messed up. And we’re all very sorry. That didn’t belong on TV. We took every precaution we knew how to take to keep that from being on TV and I personally apologize to you that that happened.

“Sometimes we see a lot of things that we don‘t let get to you because it’s not time appropriate. It’s insensitive. It’s just wrong. And that was wrong. And that won’t happen again on my watch. And I”m sorry.”

I did see it, and Smith was clearly shaken by what happened. This is a genuine apology.

But Open is Better!

September 28th, 2012 - 1:20 pm

Astounding iPad numbers:

A study released on Thursday claims the iPad accounts for nearly of all web traffic originating from tablets, and 54.5 percent of all traffic from mobile devices, to sites running the touch-centric Onswipe platform.

In its first-ever study, Onswipe, a digital publishing tool developer that helps websites create “touch friendly” web experiences without building a standalone app, found that Apple’s tablet represented 98.1 percent of 29.5 million unique impressions over 1200 sites from Sept. 13 to Sept. 20.

Let me ask you — what the hell do Android owners do with their tablets?

Let’s Go to the Totally Bogus Videotape

September 28th, 2012 - 12:10 pm

MSNBC is a festering skinsack of lying scumbags. I’ve decided to stop beating around the bush on that one.

It’s Sneaky and Subversive

September 28th, 2012 - 11:18 am

Trifecta: Don’t let them fool you — voter suppression is a game played by the Left.

Blowback

September 28th, 2012 - 6:57 am

Did anybody see this one coming? FP has the latest wacky poll from Bloomberg:

The foreign-policy results of the new Bloomberg National Poll haven’t gotten much attention yet, but the survey contains some bad news for the Obama campaign. According to the poll, Mitt Romney has a 48-42 advantage over Barack Obama on the question of which candidate would be tougher on terrorism. Romney, in other words, has encroached on one of Obama’s signature strengths.

I suppose that’s what happens when you insist that a well-organized and deadly al Qaeda attack on one of our consulates was just an angry flash mob inspired by a YouTube video nobody had seen.

Because maybe you can fool some of the people all of the time, but not with BS as stupidly obvious as that.

Your Friday Morning Dose of Doom & Gloom

September 28th, 2012 - 5:49 am

Dongguan, one of China’s largest and richest high-tech boom towns is going broke:

How is it possible that a city which as the SCMP describes was once a backwater farm town until the late 1980s, and then as China boomed was transformed into one of the most important hi-tech manufacturing centres in the world, and about which an IBM vice-president famously said a mere 15-minute jam on the expressway there would be enough to cause worldwide fluctuations in computer prices, could be facing bankruptcy?

The answer is an absolutely fascinating story, one which for the first time exposes what could be the most sordid underbelly of the broken Chinese shadow credit system, and which demonstrates very vividly just what the hard Chinese landing will look like.

Read the whole thing from Zero Hedge, then tell me again how we need even more intervention in our banking system. Because cronyism rawks.

Are You Questioning Me?

September 27th, 2012 - 3:55 pm

Shorter Gallup: “Shut up, he explained.”

Eau du Desperation

September 27th, 2012 - 2:20 pm

That’s what I smell in Massachusetts:

The Twitter account for the nonpartisan District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics posted a link to an editorial criticizing Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown on Thursday, an act the government agency tells Yahoo News was an accident.

The link directed followers to a piece on the left-leaning Talking Points Memo website headlined “Really, Scott Brown?” that attacks him for bringing up a controversy surrounding the Native American heritage of his challenger, Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren, at a recent debate.

“We would not have put that up there,” Board of Elections spokeswoman Karen Raper said when informed of the Twitter post. “I don’t know how it got there.”

Anthony Weiner’s toaster could not be reached for comment.

(H/T, Tabitha Hale.)

Censor THIS!

September 27th, 2012 - 1:14 pm

Trifecta: Censorship is OK when everybody agree on it, right?

Pass it Around

September 27th, 2012 - 11:07 am

Ask and ye shall receive — especially on Twitter. I put up a Photoshop bleg for this, and Sinjun45 delivered.

Save it. Sick it on your own blog. Tweet it. Facebook it.

Now, can anyone turn it into a yard sign?

It’s the Bernanke Quagmire

September 27th, 2012 - 9:52 am

In a disdainfully snarky little report, Adam Davidson explains what’s going wrong with everything everywhere, more or less:

Though it doesn’t always seem true, times actually have changed. During the worst of the recession, people were just plain broke. Their debts were at historic highs, and their savings were at record lows. That’s no longer the case. American households have reduced much of that debt and built up some savings. They’re just not spending it yet. So whereas the Federal Reserve was once tasked with performing life support on the financial sector, it’s new challenge is more subtle but nearly as complicated. It needs to convince consumers that they can trust the economy again, that now really is the time to jump back into the stock market or buy that bigger house.

I didn’t quote any of Davidson’s little digs at us poor untermenschen for being all “twitchy” and suffering “agita” and unable to just get “over the terror.” Because it’s obvious that he’s just a dick. He’s also a lousy reporter, because he’s only gives you half the story.

Washington needs to inflate away the results of the last dozen years of multi-trillion dollar profligacy. But Bernanke can’t get a good general inflation going until people start spending their money. Sure, food and energy prices are necessarily skyrocketing, but wage inflation and general price inflation are stuck in the mud. That’s just no good when The Beard has to make a $16,000,000,000,000 mountain of debt into a molehill. And with the Fed’s balance sheet set to rise to perhaps $5,000,000,000,000, Bernanke has even more incentive to inflate, inflate, inflate.

Consumers aren’t cooperating, because, yeah, we are nervous. There’s a fiscal cliff coming. ObamaCare is raping our paychecks. We know the jobs aren’t coming because investors are getting whacked and entrepreneurs have gone Galt. So instead of spending like sober Congressmen, we’re saving our money for the proverbial rainy day. Which, I might add, is already here. And it’s not just a drizzle, either; let’s call it Hurricane Barack.

So what we have is a Mexican standoff between a $16,000,000,000,000 economy that’s just sitting there, waiting out the storm, and a $16,000,000,000,000 debt Bernanke needs to make go away. We also seem to understand that as soon as we start spending our savings, it will inflate into nothing. It’s us versus Ben.

Think of it as our little way of saying “Eff you, Washington,” before Washington can say “Eff you” to the money we’ve saved.

Your Thursday Morning Dose of Doom and Gloom

September 27th, 2012 - 8:40 am

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Via Drudge. Posted without further comment.

Where the Jobs Aren’t

September 27th, 2012 - 7:20 am

A stunning 55% of small business owners say they wouldn’t start a new business in today’s climate, and they blame Obama for it. The cold sweat nightmare question is: How many would-be entrepreneurs just aren’t bothering in the first place? How many new businesses — new products, new services — will never get off the ground because, well, people are shrugging?

This is not a bug in Obamanomics; it’s a feature.

Everything President Empty Chair has done to “help” the economy has served to kill off entrepreneurship. Sure, there are tax incentives for new hires. But that won’t help a young entrepreneur — let’s call him “John Galt” deal with the unprecedented explosion in new regulations. It won’t help him navigate the minefield/maze of ObamaCare. It won’t get him a loan from a bank cowering in fear of what Dodd-Frank might do. It won’t help him pay for the electricity he needs, the cost of which is necessarily skyrocketing.

In just a few years, the American attitude has gone from “Let’s roll” to “screw this.”

Entrepreneurs upset apple carts. They make failures out of established businesses that were too big to fail. They don’t adhere to the plan. And if there’s one thing the vile progs insist on, it’s that everything be planned. Gotta pound down those square pegs fast, and thoroughly. How are they ever going to switch us all to subsidized battery cars if some smart prospector figures out a way to derive oil from shale?

They can’t stop everything, everywhere, of course — witness the above mentioned revolution in domestic energy production. Although its hardly from lack of trying, as Obama shuts off oil production in the waters he can control and on the Federal lands where he has jurisdiction. Private property though is such a nuisance.

But fear not. Four more years is probably all they need to finish the job.

Lies, Damned Lies, and the NYT/CBS Poll

September 27th, 2012 - 6:02 am

Via John Nolte, here’s what you have to swallow if you’re going to believe today’s ROMNEY IS LOSING EVERYWHERE headlines:

Florida:

In 2004 the vote was R+4.

In 2008 the vote was D+3

CBS/NYTs is reporting that in 2012 we will see D+9.

Ohio:

In 2004 the vote was R+5

In 2008 the vote was D+8

CBS/NYTs is reporting that in 2012 we will see D+9

Pennsylvania:

In 2010 the vote was D+3

In 2008 the vote was D+7

CBS/NYTs is reporting that in 2012 we will see D+9.

Bumper crops again this year, comrades! You must stand in line only because of shirkers and dissenters.

Of Course the Game is Rigged

September 26th, 2012 - 10:30 am

Jim Geraghty compares the 2008 results to the 2012 polls:

Ohio 2008 exits: 39% Democrat, 31% Republican, 30% Independent.

Ohio New York Times/Quinnipiac 2012 sample: 35% Democrat, 26% Republican, 35% Independent.

In this sample, the partisan split is D+9 compared to D+8 four years ago, and the GOP is five percentage points smaller than in 2008.

Pennsylvania 2008 exits: 44% Democrat, 37% Republican, 18% Independent.

Pennsylvania New York Times/Quinnipiac 2012 sample: 39% Democrat, 28% Republican, 27% Independent.

Somehow a D+7 split has turned into D+11 split, and Republicans’ share of the electorate is nine percentage points less than they were four years ago.

Florida 2008 exits: 37% Democrat, 34% Republican, 29% Independent.

Florida New York Times/Quinnipiac 2012 sample: 36% Democrat, 27% Republican, 33% Independent.

Each party’s share only shifts a few percentage points, but the overall split goes from D+3 to D+9.

I’ve never seen anything like this.

Content of What Character?

September 26th, 2012 - 8:54 am

Trifecta: There she goes again — the wife of our first post-racial President is injecting race into the campaign.

Long Life: You Can’t Pass it on to Your Kids

September 26th, 2012 - 6:25 am

Dying to live to be 100? Are you sure? Read

Researchers in Korea have shown that eunuchs – castrated men living centuries ago – outlived other men by a significant margin.

They say their findings suggest that male sex hormones are responsible for shortening the lives of men.

They have have my testicles when they pry them…

Watch Out for that Link!

September 26th, 2012 - 5:05 am

Careful where you surf on that Samsung Android phone of yours:

A phone dialer code can hard reset a Galaxy S2, S3, and a bunch of minor devices that use Samsung’s TouchWiz overlay. The idea is that the operator could enter it on the keypad manually to hard reset all of the data. However, it was discovered last month that an SMS could carry the number and reset the device (video above). Now, it seems some folks have tried embedding the call function in a web frame with those numbers. They were able to reset the Samsung Galaxy devices just by having the device visit a website.

Click a link, Blake your phone? It’s safe to say Samsung didn’t copy that from Apple.

Working for The Man

September 25th, 2012 - 4:04 pm

Want a living wage? Work for the capitalist, not the collectivist:

In 2010 the national average wage was roughly $42,000 a year. Yet Obama is only paying his campaign workers $36,886 a year.

The greedy, evil Romney however is paying his campaign workers $51,500 a year.

The exact salaries of the Romney workers cannot be determined because Romney is counting on the RNC and the state parties to provide get out the vote workers while the Obama Campaign is apparently paying people at the local level directly. But the numbers above apply to the workers who work directly for the two campaigns.

I know, I know — but he cares.

Stuff caring. Demand a raise.

Driving the Narrative

September 25th, 2012 - 2:30 pm

I’ve been harping on the lousy polls for weeks, but Mike Flynn sums it up nicely:

In 2008, the electorate that elected Barack Obama was 39% Democrat, 32% GOP and 29% Independent. This is what we call a D+7 electorate. Obama defeated McCain by 7 points, the same margin. In 2004, the electorate was 37% Democrat, 37% Republican, and 26% Independent, in other words D/R +0. Bush defeated John Kerry by 3 points nationally.

Yet, virtually every big media poll is based on a model where Democrats equal or increase their share of the electorate over 2008. Beyond simple common sense, there are many reasons this won’t happen. The Dem vote in 08 was the largest in decades. It came after fatigue of 8 years of GOP control, two unpopular wars, a charming Democrat candidate who was the Chauncy Gardner of politics, a vessel who could hold everyone’s personal dreams and hopes for a politician. It was a perfect storm for Democrats.

None of the factors driving Democrat turnout in 08 exist today. Recent polls from AP, Politico and the daily tracking polls from Rasmussen and Gallup, all of whom assume relatively lower Democrat turnout in November show the race essentially tied. Only those polls showing an electorate with equal or greater numbers of Democrats show Obama with any sizable lead.

Yet, its these polls that are driving the political narrative. [Emphasis added]

Here’s how it works. MSM-affiliated polling organization presents biased poll to MSM. MSM then reports the numbers with all of its experienced gravity. Voters watch MSM, assume gravity means polls are correct. And most years, as Flynn notes, they are.

It’s like voting “present” in the Illinois state Senate. Most of your constituents won’t know (or much care) what that means, but it lets a state Senator avoid unpopular votes while offending no one and maintain the illusion of being hard at work. And since few people understand it (or much care about it), that makes it difficult for your opponent to making the “voting present” argument stick. In fact, the closest anyone has come to doing so was Clint Eastwood and his empty chair at the RNC — and the MSM absolutely belly flopped on top of Eastwood to make people forget him, ignore him, or dismiss him.

Which brings us back to the polls. Cross tabs? D+7? Voter self-ID? Few people understand these things, and even fewer care. Most people look at the headline number — Obama up eleventy in Texas! — and resign themselves to FORE MOAR YEARZ.

Don’t be those people.

Punch the Narrative in the Nads

September 25th, 2012 - 1:43 pm

Trifecta: Obama vs Romney — the media calls it “winning!”

Required Reading

September 25th, 2012 - 12:20 pm

Twenty conservative leaders have written an open letter accusing the MSM of “rigging the election.”

Well, they’re right.

Zombie Bees Ravage Washington State

September 25th, 2012 - 7:58 am

Really:

The infection is as grim as it sounds: “Zombie bees” have a parasite that causes them to fly at night and lurch around erratically until they die.

And experts say the condition has crept into Washington state.

“I joke with my kids that the zombie apocalypse is starting at my house,” said Mark Hohn, a novice beekeeper who spotted the infected insects at his suburban Seattle home.

That’s not funny, mister. Out of all my Zombie Apocalypse preparations, I don’t have a thing to help me and my family survive zombie bees.

What do I need? One of those fly-swatter pistols? A miniature tiny chainsaw? Spoiled honey?

Help!

Why Isn’t Mitt Romney Up by Ten Points?

September 25th, 2012 - 6:33 am

That’s what Jonah Goldberg wants to know:

Notwithstanding the erosion in support, Obama remains tied with or slightly ahead of Romney in most polls. Yesterday’s Ohio Newspaper Association poll is typical. It shows Obama with a five-point lead in Ohio, despite a sizeable Romney advantage among independents. That pol , however, employed a voter sample that gave Democrats a six-point advantage over Republicans. In this regard, it is similar to most other major polls, which (as Da Tech Guy points out) average a 6–7 point Democratic advantage. Last week’s NBC/WSJ poll had a five-point Democrat advantage and had Obama up by five. Last week’s Washington Post poll of Virginia voters had a twelve-point Democratic advantage and Obama leading by eight.

But here’s the thing: The most recent Rasmussen party identification poll has Republicans with a 4.3 percentage point advantage over Democrats nationally. At the same point in the 2008 election cycle Democrats had a 5.7 percent advantage. That’s a 10 point swing, a swing that began to manifest itself in the 2010 midterms, when the Democrats’ advantage fell to just 1.2 points — and they suffered an epic blowout .

Romney also has one major drawback as the GOP standard-bearer. He’s always saying things like, “I believe in the free enterprise system,” or “I believe in America.” These are nice things to say, and I wouldn’t vote for a candidate who wouldn’t or couldn’t say them, or who sounds like he’s speaking a foreign language when he does say them.

(Cough, cough, Mr. President Empty Chair.)

What Romney doesn’t do is explain why he believes in America or free enterprise or much of anything at all. He’s reassured the base, mostly, but he doesn’t posses that sunny philosophical core like Reagan had, which allowed Reagan to make the sale to independents.

That’s why they called him The Great Communicator. Not because he could give a speech — but, boy, could he give a speech — but because at his center was a man who had done some very solid thinking over a number of years, and who could effortlessly impart the results and the process to his audience.

I suspect Romney hasn’t had to do a whole lot of philosophical soul-searching, having been raised as a decent and hardworking Mormon, and having lived his life as a decent and hardworking Mormon. Reagan started out as a Hollywood liberal, and had to work his ass (and brain) off to move himself to the right. It was those years of effort which allowed him to make it look so easy.

With Apologies to Glenn Reynolds

September 25th, 2012 - 5:39 am

They told me if I voted for John McCain, our schools would be filled with starving children — and they were right!

Shocking Volt News

September 25th, 2012 - 5:05 am

Tom Krisher:

it seemed like a good thing in August when sales of the $40,000 car set a monthly record of 2,800. But a closer look shows that things aren’t what they seem for the cutting-edge car.

Sales rose mostly because of discounts of almost $10,000, or 25 percent of the Volt’s sticker price, according to figures from TrueCar.com, an auto-pricing website. Other pricing services gave similar numbers, and dealers confirmed that steeply discounted Volts are selling better than a few months ago.

GM’s discounts on the Volt are more than four times the industry’s per-vehicle average, according to TrueCar estimates.

Here’s what I wrote about the Volt back in January:

Eventually, GM will have to offer huge incentives to move Volts off the dealer lots — incentives, I imagine, that will make the existing $7,500 tax incentive (paid for by you and me) look small.

A politically-friendly electric motor allows GM to sell a $13,000 three-banger for about $33,000 (shoddily-equipped). Generous subsidies allow them to first mark up to price to $40,000. Somewhere between $13,000 and $33,000 is the real market-clearing price of this car. [Emphasis added]

So, GM has offered incentives which, along with tax breaks, bring the purchase price of the Volt down to about $25,000 — and sales are picking up, although still far short of expectations. So it’s a safe bet that even bigger incentives are sure to follow.

I told you so.