This kind of thing actually still happens, even in Maine.
The really interesting thing is that usually in that same spot is a Little Caesar’s guy holding a big sign advertising the $5 hot-n-readies. Man, would I love to see those guys do a side-of-the-road advertise-off.
Apr 28 2013
This kind of thing actually still happens, even in Maine.
Apr 28 2013
It became a little too much like work.
When I decided to plunge into Android with a Nexus 7, I was happy with all the customization and inter-app communication that the platform allowed. But since then, I’ve found all the tweaks to be a little overwhelming, such that when there’s something not quite to my satisfaction (CPU performance, home screen, UI fluidity), I presume there must be some setting, plug-in, or adjustment that I’ve failed to uncover. Should I get a new launcher? Should I use a cache cleaner? Do I need a widget? The fact that iOS allows almost no customization beyond one’s wallpapers began to feel reassuring.
The Nexus 7 is very good hardware with a very nice display — a display that still easily bests the iPad mini’s. But, Android, it’s just not working out. You’re powerful, you offer a slew of options, and your aesthetics are even vastly improved. It’s not you, it’s me.
Well, it’s partly you. But mostly me.
I’m selling the Nexus and will seek out to replace it down the line with an iPad of some sort. In the mean time, the iPhone will suffice.
I’ll miss, to an extent, the ability to totally Googlify one’s experience, to get the full brunt of all that Google currently offers, which iOS now somewhat limits. I’ll miss the fact that one app can talk to another app with no barricades in the OS. I’ll really, really miss SwiftKey and swipe/gesture typing.
But I miss now not having to think about how I’m going to make the damn thing work. I miss the frictionless UI. I miss the simplicity.
Hey, Nexus. you’re great. You are. Someone else is going to cradle you lovingly in their hand, and maybe even flash a bootloaded ROM or whatever the hell it is Android people do in the privacy of their own homes. You deserve someone who will appreciate you for who you are.
We’ll always have the memories. Well, I will. You won’t, because I’ll erase all your data.
Apr 24 2013
I think their usual lineup of guests must have all simultaneously perished, because HuffPost Live invited me to join a panel this evening, literally minutes before air time. I was happy to oblige, of course. (The host, Josh Zepps, has my boss on a lot.)
We’re discussing he recent moves by Hungary to ban Nazi and communist symbols, and whether laws that prohibit vile speech can ever be justified. I think I managed not to embarrass myself or my employers too badly. You be the judge.
Note: The protest I refer to in the piece was suddenly postponed to May 2 right after the broadcast.
Apr 24 2013
As you might be aware, I also blog for a little outfit known as Friendly Atheist. Yeah, way more people read me there. Here’s a roundup of some of my recent posts there.
I looked at how Andrew Sullivan is calling out liberals for being unwilling to confront the reality of radical Islam’s threat and involvement in the Boston bombing, saying, “when Andrew Sullivan links arms with Sam Harris, I’m going to pay attention very closely.”
I wonder at the idiotic wonder that is Louie Gohmert and his literal merger of church and state.
I look at China’s announced intentions to irradiate superstition from its populace.
I get nostalgic for D&D thanks to Pat Robertson, who fails his saving throw vs. dumbassery.
I get a giggle out of Alan Keyes, who talks about eating boogers.
I take comfort in the doubt of Kay Warren.
And I catalogue the miracles that happened during the filming of The Bible movie.
And other stuff, too, but that’ll do. Go click and prove my value to Hemant!
Apr 23 2013
Apr 21 2013
Jon Huntsman ran what turned out to be a pretty pathetic campaign for president in the 2012 cycle. Running to capture the nomination of a party that at several times was in the thrall of figures like Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum, he was already fighting an uphill battle to become acceptable to the GOP’s Bronze Age base. It didn’t help matters that he was weak in debates and generally mush-mouthed in interviews.
One is tempted to give him a lot of credit, though, for the fact that he was obviously so willing to stand up to much of the insanity to which the other candidates were pandering. He expressed support for science and acceptance of evolution and climate change, he chastised his fellow candidates for being immovable in their anti-tax zealotry, and there were other examples. I am not so quick, however, to shower him with praise.
With the GOP in something of a frazzled state following their substantive defeat in November, there is a lot of noise about the party finally, finally, no really this time, moderating itself to be more acceptable to a general national electorate. And that noise often leads to chatter about how Huntsman is the model for the modern, reformed GOP. Conservative, yes, and quite, but also not heartless, not backward, and not unmoored from reality. He recently came out for gay marriage in the pages of The American Conservative, and a new Daily Beast piece makes the case that the Republican Party may be inching toward a kind of Huntsmanization.
On paper, I’m okay with all of this. I’d much rather have a political debate that had two parties that, though disagreeing about solutions, were at least in agreement about what is and is not true, what is and is not fact, and what is and is not discrimination. So a Hunstman-like GOP? Fine, you can’t do much worse than what we’ve already got, at least before Ted Cruz gathers a private army to invade Vermont.
But I think the Beltway media and political establishment are wrong to lionize Huntsman the man. I think there is, underlying his moderate-ish, sane-ish policy branding, a very real and disqualifying character flaw.
And, forgive me, but I’m going to allow the loathsome Erick Erickson to introduce my point. Erickson wrote in 2011:
The reason I will never, ever support Jon Huntman is simple: While serving as the United States Ambassador to China, our greatest strategic adversary, Jon Huntsman began plotting to run against the President of the United States. This calls into question his loyalty not just to the President of the United States, but also his loyalty to his country over his own naked ambition.
It does not matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat. Party is beside the point here. When the President of the United States sends you off to be Ambassador to our greatest strategic adversary in the world, you don’t sit around contemplating running against the very same President you serve. It begs the question of did you fully carry out your duties as Ambassador or let a few things slip along the way hoping to damage the President? Likewise, it begs the question of whether our relations with China have suffered because the President felt like he could not trust his own Ambassador?
Now put aside whether you feel like China is our “strategic adversary,” and consider Erickson’s point. I don’t care whether Obama’s motivation for appointing Huntsman as his China ambassador was a hedge against having to face him in 2012. Huntsman accepted the job, the job of representing the United States, and more specifically this president in China. And there’s little doubt that while he was there, he was also getting ready to do political battle with that president. If that’s you’re thinking, you don’t take that job.
I understand realpolitick. I understand that a shot at the presidency is the rarest of opportunities, and as Obama himself shows, you have to move with speed and blind determination if you ever hope to seize that opportunity. I think it’s pretty clear Huntsman won’t have another realistic shot. He perceived (correctly) that 2012 would be it for him, and he acted on it. I get it.
But then, you don’t take the job of being the embodiment of a president’s policy in a foreign country when you’re simultaneously plotting to politically undermine him. Erickson is right: Huntsman should have satisfied his ambition at the expense of something other than his commitment to the United States.
This is not the only example. Last year, it was revealed that Huntsman was also vastly overstating his fluency in Mandarin. Now, no one really thinks that one’s ability to speak a foreign language is the lynchpin to a successful presidency, but it speaks to Hunstman’s character. He doesn’t speak Mandarin very well, but still he claimed over and over that he does, touting is as an example of his worldliness and qualifications, and didn’t think anyone would notice when he spoke it in public and came out with nonsense. Jon, just because you don’t speak it well, doesn’t mean that no one else does.
It’s a small thing, but I think it says something about his overall character. He’s a clumsy national politician, no doubt (though obviously did rather well in Utah), but he also seems weak of integrity.
So if the GOP is moving toward Huntsman on policy and acceptance of reality (something about which I am deeply, deeply skeptical), that’s fine. But in terms of Huntsman the man, they should find another role model.
Apr 15 2013
Paul likes cleverly-arranged a capella music. Paul also likes beautifully composed music written for video games made before 2000. In walks Smooth McGroove (and his cat), and my world is changed.
I wish Mr. McGroove great fortune, wealth, and additional free time to make more of these.
Apr 12 2013
Sung to the tune of “Macarena,” is a quick, stupid ditty for a certain pterosaur with a 40-foot wingspan.
He wanna keep things tidy, yeah he wants things to be spotless
And he might forget your birthday and you’ll think that he is thoughtless
But if your nose is running, give you a tissue make it snotless
Truth be told, unlike my songs for Euparkeria and Eustreptospondylus, my boy was less than interested in this one. Probably because he has no idea what the tune is in reference to, the lyrics go by too fast, and, you know, it’s stupid.
But god dammit it amuses me.
Apr 10 2013
Andrew Sullivan has what at first seems like an alarming reaction to the death of his friend David Kuo, following a ten-year-long battle with brain cancer. Watch:
I feel a revulsion to this line of thinking, that someone has gone “to a better place,” or as Sullivan calls it, “home.” It obviously comes from the ridiculous idea that we all go to a warm, soft, fuzzy afterlife once we drop dead, a state that is allegedly better than the best of mortal life on Earth.
But I also find some of Sullivan’s position, apart from the theological stuff, refreshing, in that he casts a skeptical eye on life-for-life’s sake, the idea that it might just be okay to let go when all you know is pain. (And that there is a heavy dose of hypocrisy in many Christians’ maniacal avoidance of their beloved afterlife.)
As for me, however, I just want to live. I know it’s all I’ve got — this life — and it’s literally all I’ll ever have. So if it’s a choice between the pain, nausea, boredom, tedium, etc., and not existing at all, I will err on the side of staying alive.
So I guess that while I like Sullivan’s allowance for nuance and variation in how a human being deals with his or her own death, I part with him on both fronts for myself: Yes, life-for-life’s sake, because there’s no home but here.
Apr 10 2013
I am known as something of a high-strung, ever-disappointed, self-loathing stick in the mud. Guilty as charged. So Hemant Mehta pointed me to a confection that could just possibly warm my cold, ashen heart.
Yeah, that’s a Captain Picard facepalm cookie. Make it so…delicious.