Friday, February 25, 2005

critics rave

I think SpaceMonkey is suffering from critic envy. He wrote this article about how the phrase "critics rave" doesn't mean anything to him, but I think he protests too much. I think he wants critics to rave about him. He also suffered from award envy in past months.

Well, I couldn't give him an award, but I can be a raving critic. Here you go, SpaceMonkey:

The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles sucks like a fat kid trying to drink a thick milkshake through a straw! The color scheme is so grotesque it hurts my eyes! AAAAAAAUUUUUUGH! And the jokes! The alleged jokes! They're torture! They make me want to take a dull garden hoe and use it to hack off the fingers that typed them into the computer!

I hate that site even more than I hate being cut off in traffic! And I want to kill people who cut me off in traffic! I want to slam into their cars and drive them into an embankment. I want to see their torn bloody bodies flung through the windshield to lie broken and dying on the hard, cold pavement. And if I wish such a fate for mere traffic cretins, imagine what I wish for the utter inhuman monster who brings us the hideous SpaceMonkey Chronicles!

Die SpaceMonkey! Die gagging on worms. Die with wasps and spiders sucking the puss out of horrid boils bursting painfully from your skin. Die in torment! DIE! DIE! DIE!

There. I hope that makes him happy.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

why can't they leave poor Klutz Kerry alone?

OK, this isn't really fair, but it's really funny. Link from Dodgeblogium.

parallel interests

Foreign Affairs has an interesting article, "The Overstretch Myth". In it, David H. Levey and Stuart S. Brown argue against the idea that the US economy is in serious trouble due to the accumulation of foreign debt.

There are various horror stories going around about how other countries, most notably China, finance so much of the US economy by their investments that if they ever stop, we are in big trouble. Levey and Brown argue that (1) they aren't going to stop and (2) if they do, the trouble is self-correcting and is not that serious.

I'm inclined to take their word for it. Not because I have the knowledge of economics to make my own judgment, but because the horror stories all seem, in my experience, to come from people who's enthusiasm for US hegemony is at least doubtful. Next time someone tells you how China is going to bury the US, ask them what they think of Cuba or Libya. With some confidence, you can predict that they will have surprisingly nice things to say about the brutal, totalitarian governments of those nations.

Economics aside, isn't it good to get your competitors to invest in you? This divides their competitive interests and give them a reason to support you. Your good becomes, to some extent, their good. Is China likely to take actions that will harm the US and cause their billions of dollars of investments to be devalued? It seems unlikely.

If tensions between the US and China ever get very serious, this gives the US one more option short of war: threatening to confiscate all Chinese property in the US. Because of the imbalance, this is a far graver threat to them than the reverse would be to us, so they have an incentive to play nice and keep things from getting to that level.

International connections and investments make the world safer. It gives people in different countries parallel interests so that competition is less likely to get out of hand. How could anyone think it is a bad thing if other countries develop interests that parallel those of the US?

Anyone who actually supports US interests, that is...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

what men want

Yeah, yeah, I know. This is the second relationship post in a row, and the third this month. At this rate I'm going to turn into Ann Landers.

But I can't help it. This article (link from The Corner) really has some annoyingly bad advice:
Men like to chase women (don't phone them). Men like to chase women (don't sleep with them on the first date). Men like to chase women (never accept a date for Saturday night on Saturday morning -- really). And if a man seems lukewarm? He is! Move on!
This isn't advice that men give women, its advice that women give women. It's romance-novel advice. It's advice for a world in which all men are aggressive and extroverted, yet at the same time deeply introspective and sensitive to the needs of women. For the real world, it's crummy advice.

I experienced the effects of this theory of romance just last Sunday when I walked into a Starbucks where a very attractive woman made eye contact with me. She was not only pretty, but was exactly the physical type that I'm attracted to. She was talking to someone else, so I sat down one chair away from her and when she made eye contact again, I introduce myself. She said "hi" and turned back to talk to her friend.

I thought "VROOM. RAT-A-TAT-TAT. VROOM. RAT-A-TAT-TAT. POP. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Pi-i-ffff. WHI-I-I-I-O-O-oooo. CRASH. Tinkle, tinkle, thud," and went back to drinking my decaf (for those of you who didn't play with model aircraft as kids, those are the sound effects of an airplane being shot down by anti-aircraft fire). As I drank my coffee I speculated on how I could have gotten the signals so wrong. I'm sure my face was red.

Two minutes later, she tapped me on the shoulder. Her friend had left and she wanted to apologize for being rude. Said she was talking to her friend and that was why she shot me down. OK, I gave it another try. We chatted for a few minutes but we were too far apart to speak comfortably so I asked if I could move over to the chair her friend had vacated. She told me that she had just gotten out of a relationship and wasn't ready to meet someone right now. I smiled, said "That's OK, sorry to bother you," and went back to silently drinking my coffee.

She wanted me to chase her, of course. For the next ten minutes, she made several efforts to get my attention by entering my personal space, reaching for the newspaper in front of me, etc. I ignored her. Frankly, I was pissed.

I'm old enough and experienced enough that I knew what she was up to after the second rejection, but I had already made a huge effort just in talking to her. I'm not the kind of guy who talks to strangers. And being rejected after I went to the effort was humiliating. She rejected me twice as part of her sick female game and then she wanted me to come back for more. I didn't want any more.

I can't speak for all men, but for me, no, I don't like to chase women. I like it when a woman shows that she is as interested in me as I am in her. It was the frank eye contact that made me interested enough to approach her in the first place.

So... don't phone me? A woman who is really excited about a new man can hardly keep off the phone. I know that. So when a woman doesn't call, I naturally infer that she isn't that interested in me (this doesn't mean you should call whenever you feel like it. There is such a thing as too much attention). Don't sleep with me on the first date? There are good reasons for that advice, but none of the good reasons is that you don't want me to think you like me. Never accept a date at the last minute? If you don't have a good reason to say "no" to a date then I'm going to assume that you just don't enjoy my company all that much.

None of these things makes me want to pursue you more vigorously, they make me want to find someone who actually likes me.

If a man seems lukewarm? Maybe it's because you are giving mixed signals and he isn't sure he wants to get involved with a manipulative woman like you. Maybe he thinks you are really hot, but he's had bad experiences in the past with women who put on an act about everything. Maybe he's old enough now to take your behavior into account and not just your looks. Try being more honest and less manipulative.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

up or down?

Just saw this on the New York Post
Katrina Bell, 27, of Greensboro, N.C., had cleared security and was waiting to board a flight with her sister on Saturday morning when she discovered she had forgotten to remove the knife from her bag. She had put it there — in preparation for a blind date Thursday night, her sister, Tikisha Bell Gowens, 30, told the Star-Ledger.
So you guys out there, does this make you glad you weren't the guy she was dating? Or does it make you like her more?

My first reactions was, "Hey, I'd like to meet her!"

I'm a worrier. When I'm involved with a woman, I often worry about her when she's not with me. She needs big, strong me around to watch out for her. Unrealistic? A bit. Egotistical? Yup. But she is marginally safer with me around than without me around, unless you count the extra gun fire I might attract due to a shady history.

So I'd take comfort knowing my sweetheart is the kind of girl who would carry a five-inch butcher knife on a blind date. It's nice to know she takes some precautions with the health and safety of the most important girl in my life. Even if it started out with me being considered the potential hazard to health and safety. She didn't know me. Darn right she should be careful with a blind date.

Of course she really ought to have a gun.

Just kidding about my shady history.

more on slavery

Donald Crankshaw has part two of his treatise on slavery out. It's worth a read if you are interested in the history of evil.

He also pointed out this very detailed article from the perspective of the Catholic Church. In that article they point out that it was Paul --whipping boy of the modern anti-Christian left for supposedly condoning slavery and the subjugation of women-- who wrote
For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus
I don't think one can over stress how revolutionary this was in the first century. Although Paul taught that before God these differences do not matter, he is reviled for teaching the opposite, just because he gave wise and prudent advice on how people should live in the culture in which they found themselves.

Monday, February 21, 2005

eminent domain and auctions

Jonathon Adler mentions that the Supreme Court is about to hear a case on eminent domain for economic development. He says that there isn't a strong case that this is unconstitutional. I wonder though about the compensation angle. Would the founding fathers have considered it just compensation when a city council takes land away from a bunch of people and pays them substantially less than the builder would have had to pay to get the land? Often, the builder is a crony of the city council, and this eminent domain is just a way for rich people to legally steal land from less well-off people.

If they really needed the land for economic development for the common good, and really wanted to provide just compensation, they would auction the land and divide up the entire proceeds among the original homeowners. No fair taking a percentage of the proceeds for "costs", as those costs are exactly what are supposed to be born fairly by all taxpayers --and not just those who are being involuntarily deprived of their property.


I'll be hosting the next Storyblogging Carnival on Feb 28. If you have ever posted a story on your blog, or if you can get one up this week, we'd love to see it in the Carnival.

I'll be accepting entries until Sunday morning, the 27th, but please try to get it in earlier if you can. To enter the carnival, email me at Please provide:
* Name of your blog
* URL of your blog
* Title of the story
* URL for the blog entry where the story is posted
* (OPTIONAL) Author's name
* (OPTIONAL) A suggested rating for adult content (G, PG, PG-13, R)
* A word count
* A short blurb describing the story

The post may be of any age, from a week old to years old:
1. The story or excerpt submitted must be posted on-line as a blog entry, and while fiction is preferred, non-fiction storytelling is acceptable.
2. The story can be any length, but the Carnival will list them in order of length, from shortest to longest, and include a word count for each one.
3. You may either send a complete story, a story in progress, or a lengthy excerpt. By lengthy excerpt, I mean that it should be a significant portion of the story, at least 10% of the whole thing. You should indicate the word count for both the excerpt and the complete story in the submission, and you should say how the reader can find more of the story in the post itself.
4. If the story spans multiple posts, each post should contain a link to the beginning of the story, and a link to the next post. You may submit the whole story, the first post, or, if you've previously submitted earlier posts to the Carnival, the next post which you have not submitted. Please indicate the length of the entire story, as well as the portion which you are submitting.
5. The host has sole discretion to decide whether the story will be included or not, or whether to indicate that the story has pornographic or graphically violent content. The ratings for the story will be decided by the host. I expect I'll be pretty lenient on that sort of thing, but I have some limits, and others may draw the line elsewhere. Aside from noting potentially offensive content, while I may say nice things about stories I like, I won't be panning anyone's work. I expect future hosts to be similarly polite.
6. The story may be the blogger's own or posted with permission, but if it is not his own work he should gain permission from the author before submitting to the Carnival.
If you would like to be added to the mailing list, let me know. If you would be interested hosting the Carnival, let Donald Crankshaw know. He's the one that runs things.

The previous Carnival is here.