Rail to Fakie

June 24, 2013



“It’s really embarrassing, this conversation, but to be truthful, I was embarrassed by what was going on.

“As somebody who’d been adopted by England I felt rather indebted to the country and thought it was perfectly absurd that in one of the very few places where anything amounting to free expression and democracy, that in such a place there were a lot of people who were determined to overthrow it.”

And in Czechosolvakia, they were going to prison just for that free expression and democracy.

Psalm 137

April 20, 2009

I knew these lyrics originally from the Sublime version, which is great. Then this version, which is better (if you don’t break down in tears when you watch it you are already broken). Then I actually read the original Psalm, whose last line is… Well, better not to know. Just enjoy!

Paul Berman Interview

March 3, 2009

A fantastic interview with one of my favorite writers (click the quote):
picture-1(And by the way, he’s the guy who — unintentionally — got Michael Moore fired from Mother Jones, much to his credit.)
And two of his amazing books:



Hot Damn!

January 8, 2009

Got Some Good Hobbies

January 3, 2009

Way back in the thirties
Philp Blair went to a dance
Where he met the maid Laree
Entirely by chance
They got themselves married
And created Beverly
Beverly met Steve
And they made Matt and me

Grandfather Phil, well
He’s a mystery
No one knows about his past
Not even grandma Laree
Could have saved a man’s life
Or torn him limb from limb
When he dies real soon
His secrets go with him

Whoa whoa whoa
He likes his food
He makes his dough
Whoa whoa whoa
He makes a few good jokes
And he gives it a go

When dad comes home
He has one on the rocks
Hangs out in the kitchen
And my mom and him talks
Says “How you doing, boy?”
When I come down
I’ll be sad when he’s not around

Whoa whoa whoa
He likes his food
He makes his dough
Whoa whoa whoa
He makes a few good jokes
And he gives it a go

With the canon and the guitar
My time I’ll spend
Got some good hobbies
Even better friends
Working on my immortality
When I die they can say of me:

Whoa whoa whoa
He liked his food
He made his dough
Whoa whoa whoa
He made a few good jokes
And he gave it a go

Christmas 2008

December 25, 2008

I don’t know how these photos got formatted like this.  Oh well.  Click twice for big versions.  

We watched “A Christmas Story” on Christmas Eve.  First time Shinhye saw it.  That’s a damn good movie.  


November 12, 2008

Across the flatlands we came out of nowhere special
Like a peasant revolution – makeshift weapons in our hands
We crashed the gates so hard; we’d never heard that kind of sound before
And braced ourselves for victory, and the spoils of the land
Defenses melt away before our frozen blank surprise
From the palace now we stare into a million waiting eyes

The Secular Obama

November 8, 2008

Before we get carried away, let’s read our Bibles now.  Folks haven’t been reading their Bibles.

I just keep liking him more and more.

November 8, 2008

The Republicans are not known for avoiding fallacious thought, but

Is Barack Obama a socialist? Well, let’s see. His campaign platform makes no mention of proletarian revolution or nationalization of industry, and he trumpets his belief that “America’s free market has been the engine of America’s great progress. It’s created a prosperity that is the envy of the world.” Not quite Leninesque. On the other hand, Tom DeLay has made a logically rigorous counter-argument sure to convince second-graders everywhere: “I have said publicly, and I will again, that unless he proves me wrong, he is a Marxist.” No word on whether DeLay proceeded to put his fingers in his ears and hum loudly.

Another good one I heard was Obama gets criticized (as he should have been) because for twenty years he regularly attended a coo-coo church.  Therefore he is a Muslim.  John McCain, on the other hand, is (ridiculously) critcized for never attending church.  Therefore he is a Christian.

McCain and Palin Debate

November 5, 2008

Obama Reads (Good) Books

November 1, 2008

Paul Theroux on Obama and the governor of Hawaii (who apparently doesn’t like Obama):

I was introduced to Gov. Lingle at a political event not long after her reelection by a friend who insistently repeated my name. When the governor looked blank, my friend said, “The writer! He writes books!” She said, “I don’t have a lot of free time for reading,” and moved on.

Funnily enough, the first time I met Senator Obama, two years ago in a hamburger joint in my little town on the North Shore of Oahu (the sort of place only a local would know), he showed an intimate acquaintance with my work, and even an appreciation. I was with Pico Iyer. Obama said to Pico, “I love your book on Cuba.” Needless to say, I urged the senator to run for president.


Meanwhile, back at the tabernacle:

From Dark Star Safari:

The best story about the [Cairo] station, told to me by a man who witnessed it unfold, does not concern a luminary but rather a person delayed in the third-class ticket line.  When this fussed and furious man at last got to the window he expressed his exasperation to the clerk, saying, “Do you know who I am?”

The clerk looked him up and down and, without missing a beat, said, “In that shabby suit, with a watermelon under your arm, and a third class ticket to El Minya, who could you possibly be?”

I Hate Olbermann

October 31, 2008

and Maddows too.  I’m not crazy about David Frum, but he’s on the money with this one.  When John Stewart was on Crossfire, he was on the money too.  And Paul Begala is worse than Tucker Carlson.  

I Like Elite Everythings

October 28, 2008

Even Tucker Carlson agrees:

Joe the Plumber announced last week that he is considering a run for congress. Joe has never worked in government, but he imagines he’d make a pretty good legislator. “I’d be up for it,” he told radio host Laura Ingraham.

That assumption does not go both ways. There aren’t many members of Congress who imagine they could be plumbers, and for good reason. Plumbing is complicated. Screw it up and there are consequences: sewage backups, ruined carpets, flooding.

You’ve got to know things to be a plumber, by law. We don’t trust anything that important to amateurs.

A wise president would break the cycle, soliciting help on day one from seasoned Beltway hacks.

No one’s suggesting vocational schools for political candidates, or at least I’m not. [Why not?  I am.] But it would be nice if we stopped pretending that anyone can run the government. Anyone can’t…

I can’t think of any work that needs to be done well that one wouldn’t prefer an elite to do.  The only thing America wants soccer moms and dumb plumbers to do is run the country

This is a list of professionals I’ve come in contact with today:  dry cleaner, print shop guy, taxi driver, cooks (pasta and kimchi rice), elevator repair man, gym trainer (not mine, he was just hanging around), public bath house cleaner of baths, barista, bar tender.  I’d prefer that all of them were elites, and it often shows when they’re not.  

Who can honestly say they would want Palin running the country?  They wouldn’t let her make their coffee. Or Joe the Plumber anywhere near Washington?  Joe the Plumber it turns out isn’t even a very good plumber.  Well, if we can elect a less-than-elite baseball team owner whose less-than-elite intellect became more and more apparent over eight years (and it started pretty apparent), then why not a crappy plumber in Congress?

Palin’s Anti-Science

October 26, 2008

In her first policy speech, Sarah Palin talked about autism and disabilities and somehow – not accidentally, these were prepared remarks – somehow managed to knock the science that will someday lead to cures and preventions.  I kid you not:

“You’ve heard about some of these pet projects they really don’t make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.”

And in Paris even!  The horror.  Change it to Freedom Fly and then maybe it’d be acceptable. 

Hitchens passing judgment (and even Larry King chides a guest and says “this isn’t funny”):

Here’s what fruit flies (anyone whose read a biology book, and you can be sure she hasn’t, is aware of their uses) have done for us (from here):

Progress in birth defects research. That led to a Nobel Prize.

Progress in autism research. On of the points of her talk.  Doesn’t she want to find a cure or a prevention?

Diabetes research.

Cancer research. Indeed, fruit fly research has led to critical advances in the treatment of colon cancer and possibly all cancers.

Alzheimer’s research. And scientists have just cured fruit flies from Huntington’s disease, a massive leap to the treatment of humans.

And work on increasing the life-span of fruit flies may have benefits in slowing ageing in humans.

And what makes the fruit fly so ubitiquous in medical research?

Chiang Ann-shyn – director of the Institute of Biotechnology and director of the Brain Research Center at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu City, Taiwan – explains in this article:

‘One reason fruit flies were used was the similarities between their genes and human genes, Chiang explained. Although a fruit fly carries only around 135,000 genes, which might seem few in comparison to a human being’s 4 billion genes, a large number of genes that suffer from human genetic disorders can be found in the fruit fly. “Flies are cheap to breed, and their genes can be manipulated quickly,” he declared. Moreover, better understanding of genes would allow scientists to search faster for novel therapeutic drugs for healing diseases like Alzheimer’s, he added.’


What Would Palin Say?

October 7, 2008

Kirk Cameron, formerly of Growing Pains, has a new gig as side kick on an evangelical coo-coo show.  Behold the “Atheist’s Nightmare”:

Here are a couple of photos of our God-given bananas before humans selected and bred them for their “point at the top for ease of entry and just the right shape for the human mouth.”  I don’t imagine they ever “squirted in your face,”  but I know I like my bananas to “curve towards your face.”


Here Kirk Cameron, through his in depth reading of evolutionary theory, exposes what’s been baffling scientists for a hundred and fifty years:  where are the fossils of the crocoduck?

Here’s another one that shows the creationists’ deep understanding of how evolution works:

And your next ten words?  How about a lifeline?


October 3, 2008

I don’t pretend to understand the economic collapse of civilization.  But this is funny.