November 28, 2008
As the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, an economist, anti-totalitarian and climate change sceptic, prepares to take up the rotating presidency of the European Union next year, climate alarmists are doing their best to traduce him.
The New York Times opened a profile of Klaus, 67, this week with a quote from a 1980s communist secret agent’s report, claiming he behaves like a “rejected genius”, and asserts there is “palpable fear” he will “embarrass” the EU.
I’d also be happy to suffer the humiliation of carrying a Birkin:
Technorati Tags: Luxury+embarrassing Recession Financial+crisis+luxury+goods
November 26, 2008
And if you’ve got a killer stuffing recipe, now’s the time to tell me about it in my comment section.
I love the new Guns-N-Roses album. I know what you’re all thinking: she was going to love it no matter what it sounded like. But not so! There have been many times in my life that I’ve anticipated something, the Radiohead documentary, my last trip to Paris, 50 Cent’s last album, W’s second term, only to be wholly disappointed. It was not outside the realm of possibility that 14 years after the last Guns-N-Roses release, which was the critically panned covers album “The Spaghetti Incident?”, I’d be completely disappointed by “Chinese Democracy”. But I’m not. At all.
It’s mostly this: while the album may say Guns-N-Roses on it, it’s really not. It’s Axl Rose and his merry musicians. So, no, you won’t have Slash’s opening to “Sweet Child” and you won’t have the cohesiveness of a band that made it big together. What you have, though, is an extremely talented Axl making what would be considered a masterpiece if we weren’t all too busy comparing it to “Welcome to the Jungle.” In some ways, Use Your Illusion I and II suffered from the same comparison–if any other band had put out those two albums they would have been insta-classics. And don’t even get me started on the brilliance and underratedness of “The Spaghetti Incident?” Any other band features an album with covers of both “Since I don’t have you” originally by The Skyliners and “Ain’t it fun” by the Dead Boys, and rocks them both, would be considered unique and talented. GNR’s effort was met with “when are we getting another ‘Appetite for Destruction’?” As soon as you let go of the hope that every one of their albums will sound like “Appetite”, the music starts to speak for itself. And it’s saying it rawks.
“There was a time”, “Shackler’s Revenge” and “IRS” sound like old-school GNR but the rest of the album is an advancement in sound for Axl. He’s adapted and modernized. I love “Better”, “This I love” is a great ballad, “If the World” has some dancey groove thing going on of which I completely approve.
My least favorite song is “Streets of Dreams”, mostly because of the effect on Axl’s rose on some of it. I love Axl’s voice, even old Axl, he’s shouldn’t be like the kids today and mess with that. Although, having said all that, “Sorry” sounds like he’s doing something funky with his voice too, and I still love that song.
In conclusion, “Chinese Democracy” is a surprising album, for more than the fact that it ever got released. It’s challenging and different and beautiful. Yes, I’ll buy anything that Axl produces for the rest of his life so you might think you should take that with a grain of salt. But those who know me know I said the same thing about Radiohead after they released “Ok Computer” and I didn’t even bother downloading their last album–which was available free online. Falling out of love with a musician happens all the time, “the most impassioned song to a lonely soul is so easily outgrown”, but as long as the Axl Rose Band keeps growing with me he can count on my support for the rest of his days.
November 25, 2008
Mort Kondracke gives advice on how the Republicans can win again. Surprise! It’s be more like the Democrats:
How can the Republican Party rebound? The first step would be to quit letting Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham set its agenda.
In recent years, Republicans have let right-wing talk-show hosts whip the GOP base into frenzies – over immigration, brain-damage victim Terri Schiavo and same-sex marriage – that have branded the party as troglodyte.
Via Hot Air.
It’s hard to pinpoint a beginning to my relationship with the IC. We had been friends for over a decade, close friends since ‘01, and neither was really sure when it was that we started looking at each other differently. When we grapple for a date, we always come up with “that Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2007.” It took us a little longer than that to make it official. After all, before he was the IC on this site, he was the guy with whom I shared a netflix account or, Netflix Parter (NFP). Still, “that Tuesday before Thanksgiving” became our official starting point. Last Friday I looked up the actual date of that Tuesday and saw that we had missed our anniversary, it had been the day before. How romantic of us, I thought. But since the date never meant anything, we could still celebrate that day, that Tuesday, today. And as IC says, we’re only celebrating this day once. By this time next year, we’ll have a whole new anniversary, the realest kind.
Chuck Klosterman had a quoted-everywhere piece a few years ago, from his book “Love, Sex and Cocoa Puffs”, about fake love. I blogged about it here although I didn’t mention the part that I’m thinking of today. He wrote:
“Within three years of its initial release, classifying any intense friendship as “totally a Harry-Met-Sally situation” had a recognizable meaning to everyone, regardless of whether or not they’d actually seen the movie. And that meaning remains clear and remarkably consistent: It implies that two platonic acquaintances are refusing to admit that they’re deeply in love with each other. When Harry Met Sally cemented the plausibility of that notion, and it gave a lot of desperate people hope. It made it realistic to suspect your best friend may be your soul mate, and it made wanting such a scenario comfortably conventional. The problem is that the Harry-Met-Sally situation is almost always tragically unbalanced. Most of the time, the two involved parties are not really “best friends.” Inevitably, one of the people has been in love with the other from the first day they met, while the other person is either (a) wracked with guilt and pressure, or (b) completely oblivious to the espoused attraction. Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less. But When Harry Met Sally gives the powerless, unrequited lover a reason to live. When this person gets drunk and tells his friends that he’s in love with a woman who only sees him as a buddy, they will say, “You’re wrong. You’re perfect for each other. This is just like When Harry Met Sally! I’m sure she loves you—she just doesn’t realize it yet.” Nora Ephron accidentally ruined a lot of lives.”
I actually hate the When Harry Met Sally comparison, only because their “friendship” was a joke compared to ours. They were acquaintances, at best, who happened to be going through difficult life situations at the same time. IC and I were so much realer. We had, at once, a deep, true friendship as well as the funnest interaction imaginable. We’d make each other laugh and make each other think. We’d read the same books. We’d argue about politics (he used to be a liberal but has long since seen the error of his ways). We’d play one-on-one poker and the loser would take the winner to dinner. We’d watch random sports and he’d say “we’re rooting for Carolina” and then we would. And when they’d win he’d buy me the t-shirt. We spoke on the phone or emailed every single day. I set him up with my friends. We were inseparable after 9/11. He was sleeping on my couch when Saddam Hussein was captured. We’d always call dibs on each other to share a room on group trips. I have half a dozen photos of me licking his face through the years. We’d go to the beach all summer and eat seafood afterward, sandy and salty and feeling amazing. He would give me the best advice ever, and be completely honest with the painful truth when he needed to be. We’d argue about Brooklyn v. Queens, and rock music v. hip-hop. The first night we met, he put his arm around me and kept it there. He isn’t the most outgoing person so it was a bit out of character. That memory always amuses me. The friend who introduced us, Frank White (who, awesome sidenote, I also introduced to his fiance, the lovely Yelena who sometimes comments here), was telling us to get together. And ten years later we did!
I encourage you all to run out right now and fall in love with your best friend. There’s really nothing like it. Don’t listen to Klosterman, it’s realistic to suspect your best friend is your soul mate. Mine was, yours might be too. This Thanksgiving, I’m happy we both realized it. Happy anniversary, IC, and many, many more.
November 24, 2008
“Favorite Thing” by Sugar. It’s my second Bob Mould song to be featured as SOTD, the last one in May, so that should placate my Scottish Bob Mould fans for awhile.
For the first time in my life, I’m participating in Thanksgiving food making. In fact, I signed up to prepare all the side dishes while my mom hooks up the turkey. I’m thinking mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, homemade cranberry sauce and some type of pie.
I can use another suggestion or two, especially if you have a favorite recipe to share.
Israeli officials were quoted in June as saying that Israel was not familiar with the case.
November 23, 2008
November 22, 2008
“I think people are fantasizing or smoking something if they think Joe Biden’s going to call Hillary Clinton up and say, ‘This is what we want you to do.’”
November 21, 2008
“Her experience in the Senate with some of her colleagues has not been the easiest time for her,” said one longtime friend who insisted on anonymity in exchange for sharing Mrs. Clinton’s sentiments. “She’s still a very junior senator. She doesn’t have a committee. And she’s had some disappointing times with her colleagues.”
You know, I’m so surprised by her decision. I really thought she loved being Senator from New York, really getting into the minutiae of various bills to help the state which she loves so much and in which she has so much history. I know she will keep wearing that Yankee cap, wherever she ends up. She may be international now, but we all will remember her as the true New Yorker she was.
Is there a more bitter ex-candidate that Mike Huckabee (hat-tip Hot Air)? He can cover it up with a smile but his criticisms of everyone that stood in his way during the election just don’t ring true. Here is Gary Bauer on the ole Huckster:
In fact, talking with Huckabee was like playing whack-a-mole, because he had a number of issues that posed problems. It wasn’t just that he didn’t get it on foreign policy. His record on taxes and spending, illegal immigration, his apparent backing of Al Gore’s carbon cap and trade scheme, support for voting rights for Washington, D.C., and cozying up to unions like the NEA all worried me. Huckabee can call it whack-a-mole. But for me there were just too many items where he wasn’t sufficiently conservative coupled with a lack of attention and experience on foreign affairs.
I’ll get it started right now: Anyone But Huck ‘12!
You guys can not even imagine how excited I am to go to Best Buy on Sunday and buy myself the new Guns-n-Roses album (you can listen to it here, on their MySpace page–it sounds harder than the Use Your Illusion albums, heavier even than Appetite). I can’t even remember the last cd I bought, I think it might have been these in 2006.
And I’m going to want my Dr. Pepper immediately after purchase.
If Dawn can be the punchline in her Conversation of the Day, I can too:
I’m sitting in a chair at last night’s Jewcy party which had a jacket hanging on the back with an Obama/Biden sticker on it. When the owner of the jacket comes to collect it:
Max Gross: Hey, I like your sticker.
Me: Yes, very brave.
Even Max cracked a smile.