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6/30/2004

Reservations

Wilco's Jeff Tweedy in the current issue of Rolling Stone: "...I get excited listening to stuff out of context. Like, Abba records sound amazing now. And the Who doesn't really hold up."

Actually, I agree.

That other country

Arthur Chrenkoff has his first good-news roundup from Afghanistan - among other things, the population of Kabul has jumped from 700,000 to 3 million, and elections are slated for September.

On a related note, is anyone aware of any Afghan blogs? I know there are stories about the enroachment of the Taliban back to certain areas but I don't know how they balance out against positive developments like these (my guess is the positives win out). Lord knows we'd have a different conception of the situation in Iraq if we didn't have reports from the many Iraqi bloggers.

6/29/2004

Naomi Shemer Z"L

Via Shaister, I found out that Naomi Shemer, Israel's greatest songwriter, died Saturday. Her songs captured Israel's pioneer spirit in the 40's and 50's, and later, as she and the country both matured, her songs took on a more subdued but still optimistic mood. Many of her songs are now part of the fiber of Israeli culture. My favorite might be "Hurshat Ha'Ecalyptus" ("The Eucalyptus Grove"), about a grove on the Jordan river that lives on through wars and the passing of time.

Taking one for the team

In a bit of local investigative journalism, Jessica forced herself to sit through the Fahrenheit 911 movie. Now she's peeved:
...did MM think he was making a point by interviewing two old ladies in a senior home? Oh yes, Mike. Even the senior citizens understand how evil our imperialistic ways are. Did he think he was funny by playing carnival music with scenes of a happy Baghdad before the tremendous explosion of a....um.... actually.... I have no idea what exploded. It could have been a military base. Because MM doesn't care to tell us.

Also included is a review of the audience - it's a twofer!

6/28/2004

Have a great day in Coney Island

On Saturday I went out to Coney Island with some people for the Mermaid Parade. It was mostly women dressed as mermaids on various floats, which usually involved some level of being undressed plus body paint. It was nice to watch, although after about 20 minutes we got the gist of it and it was off to the beach.

For dinner we went out to Totonno's, a few blocks away, which some say is the best pizza in New York (they also have a location on the Upper East Side, but it's supposedly not as good). The food was served on styrofoam plates and paper cups, the kitchen looked shoddy, and the only way you'd know there was something special there was the glowing reviews hung on the walls and the half-hour long line to get in.

The pizza was quickly prepared, a nice thin crust, fresh ingredients, although maybe a little soggy. I don't know, I'm not really a pizza connoisseur, but it tasted good to me. If you folded the pizza in half, New York-style, it had the right amount of "bite".

Slice NY reviews Totonno's.

Freedom for Iraq

Today, Iraq is a sovereign nation.
In a surprise, secret ceremony that was hastily convened to decrease the chances of more violence, United States officials today handed over sovereignty to Iraqi leaders, formally ending the American occupation two days earlier than scheduled.

In a tightly guarded room behind high walls, L. Paul Bremer III, the top United States administrator, presented a formal letter recognizing Iraq's sovereignty to Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Excellent.

Via Ken Wheaton.

UPDATE: A School Yard Blog lists the accomplishments of the CPA, from April 2003 until today, including handover of power. (Via Instapundit)

6/25/2004

Pick one and stick with it

Crazy Al Gore can't decide if President Bush is more of Nazi or a Stalinist:
The former vice president also said the administration works with "a network of `rapid response' digital Brown Shirts" that pressure reporters and editors, a reference to Nazi supporters of the 1930s.

He also referred to Abu Ghraib, the center of the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, as "the Bush Gulag." Gore slammed the Republican-led Congress for not standing up to Bush and claimed the administration has intimidated the media.

I confess I don't know what exactly the requirements are for a place to be considered "someone's gulag", but I'd think people would have to be killed or at least injured there first. But that's just my ignorance; I don't even know what a "digital brown shirt" is. Some UPS uniform?

6/24/2004

Coalition of the extremely willing

Macedonian leadership has come a long way from Alexander the Great:
Officials from the tiny Balkan nation of Macedonia stepped forward last month to admit that the government had lured seven innocent South Asian immigrants to Macedonia, gunned them down and claimed they were al Qaeda terrorists plotting to attack the U.S. Embassy -- all to prove Macedonia's worth to the U.S.-led war on terror.

Planet Earth is blue

BBC News hates Israel, Jews. Well, we already knew that. (All of us except some people in Glasgow, it seems). (Main link via Andrew Sullivan).

The BBC article it refers to at the beginning has a bizarre "man-on-the-street" photo. The occupation is "law student". The new face of European justice?

Stars of corporate track and field

Ran the Chase Corporate Challenge yesterday, for my third time. It's a 3.5-mile race; my official time was the unimpressive-by-any-standard 36:30. In my defense, the group of us who showed up from my department got stuck right in the middle of the huge crowd before the race started. It took five minutes (walking) after the buzzer sounded just to reach the starting line, and then literally about another three minutes before the crowd thinned out enough that I could even start running. The crowd estimate was 17,000 people.

It was nice to see corporate New York come out for an event together, mostly from the financial and insurance industries it seemed, judging by people's company t-shirts. Corporate life is what drives this city, so it's good to see events that recognize and embrace that fact.

Next year, if, Lord willing, I'm still healthy and employed, I aim to break 35. A man can dream.

6/22/2004

Record-store clerks everywhere in shock

Damn. Lollapalooza cancelled. "Poor ticket sales" were cited. I guess I should have bought tickets ahead of time.

I WILL see you, The Polyphonic Spree, one of these days. You can count on it.

Via Gothamist.

Return of the penguin

Apparently there's a new Bloom County-based comic strip. Bloom County is my favorite comic strip of all time - it was inventive, literate, and populated with memorable characters. This one is called just "Opus". A web search reveals that it's Sunday-only, and that you can't find it online. Lileks gives it a mixed review.

6/16/2004

CPA poll

The latest poll of Iraqis, via the US Coalition Provisional Authority, is out. Andrew Sullivan says that is doesn't include Kurds, which would obviously tilt the results against the U.S. Of those surveyed, it seems the consensus is that they're glad the U.S. toppled Saddam but would now like the allied forces to leave as soon as possible.

I'm surprised by the ungratefulness of Iraqis, but maybe I shouldn't be. As I've noted before, there's a direct parallel to Europe in the years directly after World War II. I assume that, like then, anti-U.S. sentiment will subside after the economic situation improves, and after national elections are held (whenever that happens). If the parallel holds, fifty years from now no one will remember that U.S. soldiers faced anything more severe than some light militia resistance.

On an unrelated note, the poll results themselves (in PDF format) are somewhat poorly put together and violate a number of Edward Tufte's information design principles. Maybe the CPA should buy a copy of "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information"...

Just like the old times

Why do so many Jews want to leave France?. Beats me. They certainly can't complain that they're being ignored.

UPDATE: It was pointed out that the article linked is of a defacement of Muslim gravestones. I didn't check it carefully enough before posting. Here's a similar incident at a Jewish cemetery from last month. In any case, there's something strange going on: Muslim, Christian and Jewish cemeteries, all defaced with Nazi symbols? Unless there was an outbreak of Buddhist Nazis, there must be more here than meets the eye.

6/15/2004

Experts are wrong again

A nice article in Slate, by Lee Smith: Face it: There is no "key" to Middle East peace. This passage was interesting:

In a recent column, the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof approvingly quoted [retired Marine Gen. Anthony] Zinni as saying the Bush administration believes "the road to Jerusalem led through Baghdad." But, according to the general, everyone knows that "the road to Baghdad led through Jerusalem. You solve the Middle East peace process, you'd be surprised what kinds of others things will work out."

Zinni seems to be suggesting here that while we would be surprised, he would not. If, unlike us, he knows what would happen if we tugged hard enough on the right thread and unknotted all the problems of the region, then he should say so. For instance, if the Palestinians had a state, would Hamas revise that bit in its charter about destroying Israel? Would all the Arab nations become secular, constitutional democracies run by competent rulers committed to ensuring the individual liberties of all their citizens? Would Osama Bin Laden call off his jihad against the United States?

The Jews play the same role in the Arab world that they did in Europe centuries before: a scapegoat for problems that have nothing to do with them. Readers of this blog will probably know that I do think there is a key to Middle East peace, and that is Arab democracy.

Quick hits

6/14/2004

Al-Aqsa Intifada: 2000-2004?

Could it be? There's some strong evidence that this tragic chapter in Israel's history is coming to an end.

Roger Simon's post cites the security fence and Israel's policy of targeted assassinations as contributing factors, although I'd give an assisting role to the sudden stoppage of economic support coming from a certain spider-hole-dwelling ex-dictator.

(Via Mike Silverman)

6/13/2004

The Wisdom of Crowds

I finished reading The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki (somewhat awkward subtitle: "Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations"). It's an extremely interesting book that covers some of my favorite pet topics: free-market capitalism, management strategy, and stock market behavior, among many others. Its central argument is that a decentralized group of people, when their opinions are aggregated, will often be "smarter" and make better decisions than any so-called experts. The association that immediately springs to mind is the blog world, which Surowiecki doesn't mention: by now, we're used to blogs collectively offering commentary that's more interesting and more perceptive than what appears in the newspapers and TV; not because the people writing blogs are smarter (though in some cases clearly that's true), but because the best ideas and observations get a chance to bubble up through people's sites, while the ones that people consider deficient are dismissed. This sort of aggregating of opinion can occur in "old media", but to a more limited extent, and there's a much smaller pool of experience to draw on. How much of a broad perspective does a lifelong professional journalist really have about the world? Compare that to the blogs, where I can read opinions from financial analysts, students, computer programmers, soldiers, and many others, and from people living in whatever part of the world is relevant to an issue.

There are also references in the book to the Iowa Electronic Markets, a current blogosphere favorite (their predictions on elections tend to be more accurate than any opinion polls). Surowiecki writes that market simulators of this type are the future of forecasting and decision-making.

6/11/2004

Reaganomics

I figured I'd have another entry in honor of the national day of mourning for Ronald Reagan. National Review has a wide variety of Reagan commentary on their site today. This piece, by Larry Kudlow, praises Reagan's economic policies, chiefly tax cuts and simplification of the tax code. Spoken like a true supply-sider, he defends Reagan against charges that the economy improved only because of increased government borrowing, noting that the debt increased only in absolute terms: "Reagan inherited a budget gap of roughly 2.5 percent of the economy. By the end of his two terms, he left it exactly where he found it."

6/10/2004

Putting 2 and 2 together

It turns out that, thanks to the influence of Madonna, Britney is now keeping kosher. You may recall she also has a tattoo in Hebrew on her neck, which may or may not mean anything (it's definitely not a word, but it could be some Kabballah code).

We also know she supports President Bush.

So, now we come to the conclusion. I hope you're sitting down for this... Britney Spears is a right-wing Jew! I expect her to start issuing policy papers for the administration soon.

6/09/2004

One more confession


Okay, I am a fan of Jane Magazine.

Unfortunately I can't just buy it at a newsstand; I mean, it's a women's magazine.

The only way I can ever read it, as I see it, is to be at the place of a woman who has an issue. It would probably be near her bedstand and I'd be able to pick it up and enjoy the witty commentary. Because it's not my copy, see.

So, the unfortunate result of my strategy is that it's been months since I've read an issue. Last time your correspondent was at a girl's place for an extended period of time literally all that was around for him to skim through was "Gastronomica" and "Food & Wine" magazines. Gastronomica has fine articles but it doesn't have Drew Barrymore on the cover. With the tagline "Drew & Fabrizio have an important announcement to make." What's the announcement? I don't know.

Does anyone else share this dark secret? Women, do you ever read some guy's copy of, I don't know, Maxim?

(By the way, the photo accompanying is an art piece entitled "My Bed" that sold in Britain for 150,000 pounds. Just so you know)

Another fumble

We must be the most incompetent imperialistic country ever. We just gave the Iraqis control back of their oil.

Shape up, people. This is no way to take over the world.

(Via LGF)

Lester and the gang

Dinesh D'Souza has a nice summary of the dramatic shift in leftist opinion on the Cold War since the 80's. Included is a damning quote from economist Lester Thurow, who wrote positively about communism's economic strength in 1989. To show you how far I've changed, I took a seminar class he was teaching my freshman year in college, because I was such a big fan of his writing (I had read "The Zero-Sum Society", which I later realized was itself nonsense). And I remained a fan of his throughout the seminar, even though I had the nagging sense that his arguments weren't all that persuasive (he claimed we would start getting crushed by Europe's and Japan's superior command economies any day now). So, let that be my own mea culpa. I, too, believed in central control!

For a relaxing time, make it Suntori time

I just called a car service to go home. I blanked when they asked me for my address.

See, it's not all politics here, sometimes I write about stuff you couldn't possibly care about.

6/08/2004

Sick man of Europe

A commenter writes, in response to an earlier post:
What exactly do you have against socialized medicine? Scandinavia has it, and they're one of the healthiest societies on Earth. Not to mention one of the freer and more advanced.

Well, it's a good opportunity for a health-care-related posting. It's quite fortuitous that this question came about Scandinavia, because just last week came the interesting news that Göran Persson, Sweden's prime minister, finally got his long-awaited hip replacement surgery, after limping around for 8 months while on the public waiting list. He could have gotten special treatment, of course, but like a good leader he opted to go through the same system that the regular people go through.

8 months for a hip replacement. In this country I can't imagine it would ever take more than 2 months. The article/editorial says that "[m]ore than 5,000 Swedes are estimated to be waiting in line for this procedure alone".

There's more:
[Sweden's] egalitarian principles have, as an unintended consequence, produced a two-tiered health care system. The failing, shortages-ridden, public health care system is for the poor, and a system of private health care (or simply going abroad) is for the rich, who can afford both to pay Sweden's high taxes and private health care. Privately paying patients are usually treated by private providers in a few weeks.

Thus, a demand for equality produces a system so inefficient that vast inequality results. The other result is income taxes that, as the author notes, comprise "about 50-60 percent of your wage".

A country held up as the model of enlightened health care, led by a prime minister who walks along limping and in pain for eight months. It's the stuff of great farce.

Ah, it could have been good

I've been a bit busy lately - the software that I was sent to London to help with the release of is now being released in Tokyo. The obvious solution, which would have been to send me to Tokyo, was unfortunately nixed (despite heavy lobbying on my part - don't think I stood idly by at this kind of opportunity). The decision instead was made that I'll be keeping Tokyo hours while staying right here at my desk. At least for tonight. Sort of the worst of both worlds, you might say. So I may end up posting at strange hours, who knows.

In unrelated news, Jane Galt has an interesting post on liberty vs. security, and how some on the left use the language of the former to justify changes that enhance only the latter; the leftist may ask, "this may seem like a free country, but how free is it when you can't afford decent health care for your kids?" Jane rightly calls such redefinition "Orwellian." The comments section features the ensuing shouting match that you'd expect.

UPDATE: It turns out that both VodkaPundit and InstaPundit linked to it before I did, making it look like I was just copying them but really I wasn't. Okay then.

Some bands are dumber than others

Stupid Morrissey:
Thousands of fans at Dublin Castle, in Ireland, cheered when the ex-Smiths frontman made the announcement that [President Reagan], who had battled with Alzheimer's Disease, had passed away.

And an even bigger cheer followed when Morrissey - who is no stranger to controversy - then said he wished it had been the current President, George W Bush, who had died.

Via Drudge Report.

Do all rock musicians have to be so inane? I think not. Let's look at, say, what their rivals The Cure choose to protest when they go political:
one of the most haunting pieces of music I've ever heard is a bootleg concert recording of The Cure from (I believe) June 5, 1989, where a totally spooked out Robert Smith (yeah I know; redundant) does a 10-minute improv of a Chinese soldier torturing a dissident, after which the pudgy existentialist yells defiantly to the audience: "We will NEVER forget! We will NEVER forget!"

6/07/2004

Reports from the quagmire

QandO reprints a fascinating article from Life Magazine, January 1946:
The troops returning home are worried. “We’ve lost the peace,” men tell you. “We can’t make it stick.”

A tour of the beaten-up cities of Europe six months after victory is a mighty sobering experience for anyone. Europeans, friend and foe alike, look you accusingly in the face and tell you how bitterly they are disappointed in you as an American. They cite the evolution of the word “liberation.” Before the Normandy landings it meant to be freed from the tyranny of the Nazis. Now it stands in the minds of the civilians for one thing, looting.

...

Never has American prestige in Europe been lower. People never tire of telling you of the ignorance and rowdy-ism of American troops, of our misunderstanding of European conditions. They say that the theft and sale of Army supplies by our troops is the basis of their black market. They blame us for the corruption and disorganization of UNRRA. They blame us for the fumbling timidity of our negotiations with the Soviet Union. They tell us that our mechanical de-Nazification policy in Germany is producing results opposite to those we planned. “Have you no statesmen in America?” they ask.

...All we have brought to Europe so far is confusion backed up by a drumhead regime of military courts. We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.

...

The first winter of peace holds Europe in a deathly grip of cold, hunger and hopelessness. In the words of the London Sunday Observer: “Europe is threatened by a catastrophe this winter which has no precedent since the Black Death of 1348.”

These are still more than 25,000,000 homeless people milling about Europe. In Warsaw nearly 1,000,000 live in holes in the ground. Six million building were destroyed in Russia. Rumania has her worst drought of 50 years, and in Greece fuel supplies are terribly low because the Nazis, during their occupation, decimated the forests. In Italy the wheat harvest, which was a meager 3,450,000 tons in 1944, fell to an unendurable 1,304,000 tons in 1945. In France, food consumption per day averages 1,800 calories as compared with 3,000 calories in the U.S.

It's timely in light of the recent D-Day celebrations. Life in Europe really was fairly bleak after World War II, all the way through until the early 50's as I understand it. As they say, "this too shall pass".

6/06/2004

RIP Ronald Reagan

When I was growing up, to the extent I thought about Ronald Reagan at all I knew he was a buffoon, senile, and evil, because that's what everyone around me said. I knew about the astrology, the Iran-Contra scandal, his frequent naps. It's disappointing to say it took me a long time to discover what most people already knew at the time, and more undoubtedly know now: he was a first-class world leader.

I'm sure he'll be remembered as the man who defeated the Soviet Empire. I wish I could say that it'll also be as the man who made fiscal libertarianism mainstream (he declared, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem”) but given the current state of our political debate, when the Democratic presidential candidate can seriously advocate a socialized health care plan, his radical rhetoric now looks more like a historical aberration than the start of a movement. And even Reagan's own fiscal record was mixed: he lowered taxes, but also signed a tax increase and increased domestic spending in pointless ways like creating the Department of Veterans Affairs.

But all this pales in comparison to his defeat of the Soviets, and the subsequent freeing of 350 million people. A Reason Magazine article spells out how his combination of military spending and aggressive tone accomplished the task:
How did [Reagan] bring a victorious end to an ideological and military deadlock that defied Kennedy’s best and brightest, Johnson’s political cunning, Carter’s brilliance (certified not only by his nuclear physics degree but also by an Evelyn Wood speed reading diploma), Eisenhower’s strategic prowess, and even Nixon’s widely acknowledged (if not always admired) skills as a back-alley fighter?

The general response among America’s chattering classes has been that Reagan was the political equivalent of the millionth customer at Bloomingdale’s. He was the guy lucky enough to walk through the door as the prize was handed out, as if everything was pre-ordained and would have happened the same way no matter whether the White House had been occupied by Michael Dukakis or George McGovern or Susan Sarandon. An alternative theory posits that Gorbachev was some sort of Jeffersonian kamikaze pilot, taking his whole nation over the cliff for the thrill of being proclaimed Time’s Man of the Decade.

Oddly, that’s not the way the Russians see it. Says Genrikh Grofimenko [ed. - should be Trofimenko], a former adviser to Leonid Brezhnev, "Ninety-nine percent of the Russian people believe that you won the Cold War because of your president’s insistence on SDI," the Strategic Defense Initiative, as Star Wars was formally called. Grofimenko marvels that the Nobel Peace Prize went to "the greatest flimflam man of all time," Mikhail Gorbachev, while Western intellectuals ignore Reagan -- who, he says, "was tackling world gangsters of the first order of magnitude."

...

At arms summits, Gorbachev frantically offered increasingly gigantic cuts in strategic missiles -- first 50 percent, then all of them -- if Reagan would just abandon SDI. Schweizer, mining Soviet archives and memoirs still unpublished in the West, shows that Gorbachev’s fears echoed throughout the Politburo. SDI "played a powerful psychological role," admitted KGB Gen. Nikolai Leonev. "It underlined still more our technological backwardness." Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko understood exactly what Reagan was up to: "Behind all this lies the clear calculation that the USSR will exhaust its material resources before the USA and therefore be forced to surrender." Most tellingly of all, the East German-backed terrorist group known as the Red Army Faction began systematically murdering executives of West German companies doing SDI research.

...

The arms buildup (and a little-appreciated corollary, Reagan’s jawboning of the Saudis to open their oil spigots and depress the value of Soviet petroleum exports) quickly took its toll. The Soviet economy began shrinking in 1982 and never recovered. By Schweizer’s accounting, the various Reagan initiatives were costing Moscow as much as $45 billion a year, a devastating sum for a nation with only $32 billion a year in hard-currency earnings. Meanwhile, Reagan’s rhetoric (the "evil empire" and "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" speeches in particular) emboldened opposition movements in Eastern Europe. Less than a year after Reagan left office, the Berlin Wall fell; the Soviet Union itself disappeared a little later.


Karol has a beautiful post detailing what, as a Russian emigre, Reagan meant to her and her family. Undoubtedly the most moving tributes to the man who won the Cold War come not from Americans but from those whom he directly helped liberate from Communist oppression, who never voted for him but who benefitted from his actions in ways that Americans have nothing to compare to.

Tim Blair has a nice roundup of other Reagan tributes.

6/04/2004

Say the right things when electioneering

I have a confession to make: as most people who read the site know, I'm a conservative/libertarian politically. My confession is that I'm also a capital-L Libertarian, a bona fide card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party. I re-sent in my membership dues to this admittedly silly organization a few months ago (I've been an on- and off-member for a while). This even though most of their activities (at least here in New York) consist of cheap political stunts, like giving out toy guns to kids in Harlem, and I wholeheartedly disagree with them on the war and the PATRIOT Act; also, other pet issues of theirs I'm pretty much indifferent on, like abortion and gay marriage (the Libertarian Party is for both, although a good Libertarian would tell you that government shouldn't be in the marriage business to begin with).

I re-joined because I like them as a concept: a party that embraces, without exception, lower taxes, lower spending, privatization of education and health care, and an end to the war on drugs. Until the Republican Party starts adhering more to their ideals or a new viable conservative party emerges, they're the best I'll have; like any organization of people you belong to in the real world, you have to take the good with the bad.

Anyway, over last weekend they held their nominating convention (I skipped the chance to attend; I could have actually been a delegate if I had any desire), and their presidential candidate was chosen: it's Michael Badnarik, a 49-year-old computer programmer from Austin. Badnarik's website looks like it's being overhauled, so all his "position papers" are currently unaccessible. I saw them briefly at some point last week, so I can say that this description (which I got to indirectly through Instapundit) sums up the situation pretty well:
Badnarik is exactly the sort of person that gives Libertarians a reputation as fringe-dwelling nuts. Whether you agree with his positions or not, the fact is that even suggesting that your first day in office would see "High ranking officials from [the IRS] would be closely monitored as flight risks, pending indictments for fraud in the event that evidence proves that they knew that no statute exists that requires Americans to fill out a 1040 form and relinquish a significant percentage of their hard earned money to an unconstitutional government that refuses to operate within a budget".

I'm a Libertarian computer programmer, and still no way would I support him, even as a protest vote. So, see you in four years...

Becoming more like Tweedy

Last night I saw Beulah at NorthSix (in Williamsburg) with wine-tasting girl. I'd been meaning to see them for a while. They have a laid-back power-pop style that sounds like Wilco. A lot. I was thinking during the show about how Wilco's new album is coming out soon, one that's supposed to be their best yet, which would mean that it tops Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and thus would be an instant classic.

The show was good, with memorable songs; if you're going to imitate, you might as well imitate the best. The only real problem was the muddy sound quality, which I think came about because NorthSix's setup can't really handle a six-person rock band. It seemed like four people (two guitarists, two keyboardists) were hitting the same chords together for most of the songs, which created somewhat of a drone effect. I'm sure it comes out much better in recordings than live. I don't know, it seems to me that if your name isn't Lambchop or Polyphonic Spree (or Belle and Sebastian), you'd better have a good reason for putting up that many people together on stage, and waiting until you're in the studio to bring in more musicians. If you're a hip-hop act, of course, the rules are different. In that case you have to have at least 20 people from your neighborhood posse standing around on stage with you, nodding along. No exceptions.

6/01/2004

Why do we hate them

Who knew that a Cuban exile living in Texas could sum up the French so perfectly? He captures it all: the smarmy condescension, the moral relativism, the reflexive anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism coupled with an embrace of dictators. And as Teresa Heinz Kerry would say, "he probably doesn’t even speak French."

Via Tim Blair.

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