Tuesday, September 9, 2014 8:36 am
Friday, August 22, 2014 7:07 pm
I’m not seriously how to take this blurb from Ancestry.com — not being content to have taken a good deal of my late father’s money, they’re now after mine — but it’s amusing, so I’ll throw it out there for whatever it might be worth:
Alexander Name Meaning
Scottish, English, German, Dutch; also found in many other cultures: from the personal name Alexander, classical Greek Alexandros, which probably originally meant ‘repulser of men (i.e. of the enemy)’, from alexein ‘to repel’ + andros, genitive of aner ‘man’. Its popularity in the Middle Ages was due mainly to the Macedonian conqueror, Alexander the Great (356–323 bc)—or rather to the hero of the mythical versions of his exploits that gained currency in the so-called Alexander Romances. The name was also borne by various early Christian saints, including a patriarch of Alexandria (adc.250–326), whose main achievement was condemning the Arian heresy. The Gaelic form of the personal name is Alasdair, which has given rise to a number of Scottish and Irish patronymic surnames, for example McAllister. Alexander is a common forename in Scotland, often representing an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name. In North America the form Alexander has absorbed many cases of cognate names from other languages, for example Spanish Alejandro, Italian Alessandro, Greek Alexandropoulos, Russian Aleksandr, etc. (For forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988.) It has also been adopted as a Jewish name.
As long as I don’t repulse my family, friends, co-workers, and any potential future employers, I guess the rest of you can just suck it up.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 9:58 pm
So Rep. Steve Stockman wrote House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s PAC a check last November for $5,000.
Someone ‘splain to me again how the Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility?
I’m not a fan of commercials in general, but as a Panther fan, this Gatorade ad featuring Cam Newton had me chuckling.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 7:37 pm
From Brad DeLong’s 10-year-old archives, a fascinating alternative history by his brother, Chris, based on the notion that instead of taking the late-18th-century British Constitution, “dry-cleaned, brushed, and patched,” and adopting it, the Framers in 1787 instead adopted the Imperial Roman practice in which each Emperor “‘adopted’ the leading military politician of the next generation as his successor.” Oddly enough, for the most part we’d’ve been OK, it seems, although we still would’ve been screwed in the mid-19th century — Lincoln certainly did better than any career military man of the time could have, and we still ended up with 600,000 dead — and might well have been screwed during the Depression and the ’80s as well. YMMV, of course.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 6:26 pm
Not quite as cool as the flaming-bagpipes version, but damn fine musicianship nonetheless. Well played, boys. Well played.
Monday, June 23, 2014 7:01 pm
In which John Oliver shows Dr. Oz how to pander without making potentially life-threatening medical claims
Saturday, May 10, 2014 11:07 am
- The Black Crowes — Don’t Wake Me
- The Connells — Dull, Brown and Gray
- U2 — Fire
- Lyres — I Want to Help You Ann
- Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs — Stay
- Trammps — Disco Inferno
- Velvet Underground — White Light White Heat
- Cheap Trick — So Good to See You
- Toots & the Maytals — Sweet and Dandy
- Warren Zevon — Rest of the Night
lagniappe: Old 97s — Oppenheimer
Sunday, April 6, 2014 4:50 pm
AC/DC — Some Sin for Nothin’
Dictators — Search and Destroy
Chubby Checker — The Hucklebuck
Cinderella — Sick for the Cure
Pressure Boys — Fakin’ Dub
INXS — Three Sisters
Rolling Stones — Black Limousine
Joe Jackson — Look Sharp
Cream — Crossroads
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists — Parallel or Together
lagniappe: Warren Zevon — Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me
As if Greensboro College weren’t already having a fine weekend yesterday, what with Alumni Weekend activities and the celebration of the college’s 175th anniversary, the baseball team turned three against Maryville — a 9-3-2 triple play, at that. The play wound up on top of ESPN’s Top 10 plays last night. Here’s video, shot by my friend and colleague, sports information director Wes Gullett:
CORRECTION, 4/7/2014: Wes Gullett uploaded the video to YouTube, but the video actually was shot by a student assistant, Craig Gage. Nice work, Craig!
Monday, December 9, 2013 9:18 pm
I can honestly say I’ve never been more proud of American Satanists than I am right now:
In their zeal to tout their faith in the public square, conservatives in Oklahoma may have unwittingly opened the door to a wide range of religious groups, including Satanists who are seeking to put their own statue next to a Ten Commandments monument outside the Statehouse.
The Republican-controlled Legislature in this state known as the buckle of the Bible Belt authorized the privately funded Ten Commandments monument in 2009, and it was placed on the Capitol grounds last year despite criticism from legal experts who questioned its constitutionality. The Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit seeking its removal.
But the New York-based Satanic Temple saw an opportunity. It notified the state’s Capitol Preservation Commission that it wants to donate a monument and plans to submit one of several possible designs this month, said Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the temple.
“We believe that all monuments should be in good taste and consistent with community standards,” Greaves wrote in letter to state officials. “Our proposed monument, as an homage to the historic/literary Satan, will certainly abide by these guidelines.”
I could have told the Oklahoma Lege that this would happen, had they but asked. But no.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 8:45 pm
My friend Dan Conover made this 7-minute video some time back, but I only just found out about it. It’s genius.
Sunday, November 10, 2013 10:43 am
So: There once was this British TV comedy called “Allo, Allo.” It was about people in a town in occupied France during World War II. (Yes, I said “comedy.” Apparently it was a much better execution of the “Hogan’s Heroes” concept.) The show’s run ended in 1992 (although I hear you might be able to find it on Netflix), so it’s not of recent vintage. The characters included a French cafe owner, a German general and his gay adjutant, a Gestapo officer and a couple of other folks. And one of the recurring plotlines had to do with a painting that Hitler desperately wanted to own that the Resistance was trying hard to keep from him. The painting, which was never actually shown on the show except from behind, was by an artist named Van Klomp. It was officially called “The Fallen Madonna” and known to those who had actually seen it as “The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies.”
Now, speaking of Nazis and art, this week we learned this:
A cache of 1,500 works of art — including masterpieces by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall — confiscated by the Nazis and missing for more than 70 years has been found in Germany, according to German media reports.
The huge haul of paintings, estimated to be worth more than $1 billion, was discovered in an apartment in Munich in the spring of 2011 during a raid by Bavarian tax authorities, but its existence has only just come to light with an article in the German news magazine Focus.
The collection is said to include works by Modernist masters Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Franz Marc, Max Beckmann, Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, many of which had been believed destroyed during World War II.
That’s the CNN version of the story, and obviously this was big news in Germany, but it was big news in England as well — not least because the topic of art purloined from other cultures is still a live and touchy subject there. So we have reports from the Telegraph …
… and from the Guardian:
There’ll always be an England.
Thursday, August 29, 2013 7:24 pm
… courtesy of Juanita Jean, who, if she keeps up, is going to start getting mentioned in the same breath with Molly Ivins:
With Jon Stewart gone for the summer, Fox News has stepped up to fill the humor void.
This week, they had on an “expert” doctor who explained that gender bias in health care costs is not only legitimate, it is fair. He said that women should have high health care costs because we have ta-tas, ovaries, and all manner of mysterious stuff going on inside us.
Men don’t have that messy stuff. Men “only have the prostate,” he said. Well, that does kinda explain why they are so freekin’ stupid. You know, lacking a brain and all. They are just one giant prostate walking around wearing socks with sandals.
I don’t know about you, but I find this notion even funnier than the giant, inflamed gall bladder walking around that I dreamed about last week while under the influence of Percocet and Trazadone after having my own gall bladder removed. And now that I’m healing up, that’s pretty damn funny.
Monday, August 26, 2013 6:41 pm
At one point this morning, my cell-phone clock was five minutes behind my office computer clock, which in turn was six minutes behind my office phone clock. Each of these devices is part of an Internet-connected network, so they should, at least in theory, be running on more or less the same time. Certainly there shouldn’t be an 11-minute spread. That’s enough of a spread for mischief to happen. And I am not in the mood today for mischief (at least, not of my own making). So attention, all electronic devices: Get your lies straight. There is no room in my calendar this week for addressing a rift in the space-time continuum, even if I use that rift to try to do so.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 6:57 pm
A documentary, “Dear Mr. Watterson,” has been made about the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes and its creator, Bill Watterson. C&H has to be among the top five comic strips ever drawn, and when Watterson quit, he, like Jim Brown and Barry Sanders in the NFL, went out prematurely and on top. Moreover, he never licensed his characters, meaning that the literally millions of Americans who would buy “Calvin & Hobbes” t-shirts, coffee mugs, whatever (and I’m one of them) never got to give Watterson their money.
Scheduled release date for “Dear Mr. Watterson,” theatrical and video-on-demand, is Nov. 15.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 6:03 am
My friend and former co-worker Andy Duncan, about whom I’ve written a time or two, is what those of us who write for a living call a real writer. I mean, yeah, we’re good enough to put food on our tables with writing in some form or fashion, but we also stare at the work of Andy and writers like him, shake our heads, and mutter, “Daaaaaamn …” Writing is a craft, and a lot of people without any special gifts can become, like me, good, workmanlike writers. Lots of writing and rewriting for 30 years, with some decent editing along the way, can, indeed, allow you to wake up one day at the age of 50 and say to yourself, “Why, yes, I am a writer.” But as far as hard work can take you, you also need a gift to break the surly bonds of Earth and go out into space, where the stars and the nebulae lie.
Andy works as hard at his writing as anyone I know, and harder than most. So do I, for that matter. But Andy has the gift.
Andy’s fiction falls into the general area of sci-fi and fantasy, but much of it is as firmly rooted in the American South and its storytelling traditions as are the work of Faulkner or Agee or O’Connor. When he writes about a blues musician in Hell, Hell is the Mississippi Delta. When he writes a ghost story, it’s set in the Depression-era studios of WBT-AM in Charlotte, with painstaking details that match up with what that studio really was like then. And when an anthology editor got in touch with him once, wondering whether he might have a story on the shelf that involved someone having sex with a ghost, he reported, “I was both proud and ashamed to admit that I had three.”
Six times my friend has been nominated for a Nebula Award, the top prize given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for outstanding work. Six times he was the bridesmaid, not the bride. But 2012 was different: His story “Close Encounters” won the Nebula Award this past weekend for Best Novelette.* What kind of company does that put him in? Well, let’s just say you’ll recognize some of these names even if you’ve never read a sci-fi or fantasy work in your life (and although I’m generally not a fan of the genre, I freely admit that far too many people haven’t). I’ll let him explain the rest of it.
Congratulations, my friend. You are, now and forever, Nebula Award-winning writer Andy Duncan. You’re also a helluva great guy, although they don’t give out cool trophies with astronomical bodies embedded in them for that, more’s the pity.
*A novelette is between 7,500 and 17,499 words. A novella is between 17,500 and 39,999 words. Anything shorter than a novelette is a story. Anything longer than a novella is a novel. You’re welcome.
Thursday, May 2, 2013 6:59 am
The Onion spills the beans on history’s greatest cultural fraud: ancient Greek “civilization.” Because these days, if it’s in the Onion, it’s got to be true, right?
Monday, April 1, 2013 7:35 pm
Then, boy, have I got a gift for you to give her: The Official Southern Woman of a Certain Age Certificate:
Customizable, printable on a variety of papers or skins, and suitable for framing. You’re welcome.
Saturday, March 16, 2013 10:36 am
… spelling version:
(h/t: Mom, who knows a little about grammar and spelling herself)
Monday, March 11, 2013 6:45 pm
A little spring-break fun:
Now, in a few minutes, I’m going to sit down and, I hope, watch Davidson win the Southern Conference tournament. After that, I am taking down the Christmas tree. I only wish I were kidding.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 9:00 pm
Friday, December 21, 2012 12:01 am
Thursday, December 20, 2012 8:40 pm
ABL at Balloon Juice, back before the last time the world ended:
Why don’t we send all the right-wing, gay-hating, forced birthing, family values hypocrites—you know, the people who don’t deserve it—right on up with Jesus. Then for the genuinely Rapturable, can’t we have them stay here, but, like, give them extra bacon on their sandwiches and free HBO?
I’d be good with that.
Sunday, December 16, 2012 3:00 am
Beethoven is (probably) 242 years old today.
Oh, and this, kids, is how you do a flash mob.
Thursday, November 22, 2012 6:36 am
… and I might be going to hell for saying this, but this scene is funnier than anything that Andy Griffith and Don Knotts EVER did.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 7:49 pm
… but sometimes the levels of Stoopid demonstrated by people who REALLY OUGHT TO KNOW BETTER are just so off the charts that mockery is the only sane response.
Exhibit A: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and current irrelevance Victoria Jackson, whose behavior in recent years has been so off the charts that I even briefly suspected that it was the most sophisticated satire in history …
… joined by another fictional irrelevance, Star Wars’ Emperor Palpatine:
But wait! You say that’s not enough Republican butthurt? You say you want MORE?? Well, let Salon.com oblige you with “The 20 Biggest Sore Losers” from last night. And if you’re a real glutton for conservative punishment, you can always don hazmat gear and go wading through the miasma of FreeRepublic.com. (No, I ain’t linking there.)
One other thing: I’m seeing some cautionary communications from conservatives suggesting that Obama has no mandate to do anything. Hmm, well, let’s see. George Bush electoral votes, 2000: 271. George Bush electoral votes 2004: 286. Obama, 2012: 332.
I’d say that at the very least, Obama has a mandate to ignore the wingnut right’s bullshit, press an agenda of jobs, infrastructure investment (including global warming and related environmental issues) and health-care reform, and unleash hell on the obstructionists. That doesn’t come anywhere near the “shred the Constitution” mandate upon which Bush the Lesser embarked in his first term, but, gosh, Obama only got 16% more electoral votes. Inasmuch as he’s black and all, he’d’ve needed at least 600 electoral votes to claim that kind of mandate.
Monday, October 29, 2012 6:56 pm
To probably no one’s surprise, I voted for Obama. But this ad from film director Joss Whedon makes me think maybe that wasn’t such a hot idea.
Sunday, October 28, 2012 9:46 pm
Don’t ask me how, but this blog is, at least at the moment, the 27th most authoritative on matters related to science out of 12,200 or so blogs registered on Technorati that actually deal with matters related to science.
Well played, Mayans. Well played.
Sunday, October 7, 2012 10:30 am
It was a big day for Triangle ACC football yesterday. Carolina whomped Virginia Tech at home for the first time since 1938, Duke won in a blowout (how often so you hear THOSE words during football season), and, to top it off, my brothers’ alma mater, N.C. State, upset No. 3 Florida State 17-16. Naturally, all of Carter-Finley Stadium was rockin’, but there was one State fan who had become an Internet meme before midnight. Here he is, but I’ll warn you: You might want to keep eye bleach handy: