8:07 AM Jan 21, 2009

by Rob Ritchie

The Great One writes:

I never thought America wouldn’t elect a Black president. The fact that it finally did happen, however, brought a remarkably satisfying array of emotions. This wasn’t the placement of the cornerstone; the building is never finished. This was a stone in the wall that will be built as high as we want it to go. This stone fit. This stone belonged with the others. A hundred years from now, the stone will take strength from the one laid today, just as this stone relies on the ones laid before. And upward we build, until the metaphor collapses from overwriting -

Happy Thanksgiving!

9:43 AM Nov 27, 2008by Rob Ritchie

Another year past, and a busy day today as we prepare four separate meals for eight family guests around our table! Hurray!

To tide us over, the Great One has dished up a heaping serving of Gobbler, over at the Institute.


9:31 AM Nov 4, 2008

by Rob Ritchie

"People are the bread, money is the butter. The government is the knife."

7:29 AM Oct 8, 2008

by Rob Ritchie

The cheerful fellow who recognized the Great one during his latest trip to the Magic Kingdom and who "walked up and introduced himself?"

That wasn't me.

8:16 AM Jul 10, 2008

by Rob Ritchie

It's been a while since I quoted the Great One:

In the context of English-as-a-national-tongue laws, it’s an interesting assertion: Apparently it is right to expect people who visit Paris to speak French the day they get there, but it is cultural chauvinism to expect people who want to live and work in America to understand English well enough to navigate a ballot.

Raising (G)Natalie

8:25 AM Oct 12, 2007by Rob Ritchie

As any parent knows, every day is a series of negotiations and compromises, bargains and rewards. You have to maintain authority, but authority without the sense of justice breeds resentment; they have to know your reasons, they have to internalize your logic. You cannot be arbitrary. Likewise, you cannot be weak. Usually when we enter negotiations, and she makes a counteroffer – four grapes, not five – I shrug up the states to six grapes, and thus are five grapes consumed. But once you’ve established a reputation for an iron will, you can bend the rules in situations when no bending was requested, just to let them know you’re reasonable. If the rule is, say, a dish of ice cream on Friday night for a perfect spelling test, then every so often you scoop up dish for a less-than-perfect test, because she got a hard word right. You don’t want fear; you don’t want slavish robotic response; you want to hand down an idea that’s immutable in its purest form, and mutable when mercy intercedes.

And hope you’re not teaching them how to work the system.

I hope we're both around in ten years when Gnat wants to borrow the car.

9:44 AM Jul 4, 2007

by Rob Ritchie

Jeeze, he blogs all day long over at buzz.mn, and yet he's still got a good head of screed going for the Fourth:

And so another Fourth comes. The vast majority of Americans of all political stripes will greet the day with pride – the reasons will vary, but the core ideas are still shared. The future, however, contain a very big question, and it’s not one we haven’t faced before: together, or apart? Except now the terms have been redefined: “together” implies that we must throw our weight in with a portion of the world that seems intellectually incapable of apprehending the concept of a greater foe, and takes refuge in the dream of “disaffected” or “disenfranchised” physicians disconnected from a greater meme. “Apart” has come to mean we define our culture in opposition to another, and confront it with values we truly believe to be superior, and do so with full knowledge of our own flaws. Yesterday was the anniversary of Gettysburg, a day in which the divisions were horrible and bloody, and had to be hammered out to make the great experiment whole again. Rent apart, we had to work our way back to the whole. This is different. We have to come together, in order that we may stand apart, and defend the things in which we believe.

Read it all!

10:17 AM Mar 19, 2007

by Rob Ritchie

The Great One writes:

I don’t go to rallies or protests of any kind, because they’re like Led Zeppelin concerts without the Led Zeppelin. There’s lots of people who agree that Led Zeppelin is incredible, but no actual Zep.

Note: this is embedded in a Bleat about the protest he attended.

12:09 PM Dec 6, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

From today's Bleat:

For some people of a particular generation, sex is the only sacrament they have, but it’s anything but holy. It’s hot short and loud, like a rest-room hand-drier you turn on by hitting the button with the side of your fist. This has been going on for forty years, but they still act as if the Eisenhower Shock Troops will burst in and arrest them for talking about recreational sex. If they have a church, it has Lenny Bruce as St. Sebastian, pierced by a dozen hypodermic needles. He died for our sins. And what were our sins? That nagging sense of shame at finding a Playboy in daddy's sock drawer, I guess.

And of course this all makes me a prude, I know. And a hypocrite. And a fan of all the gleaming shallow Formica falsehoods propagated in the name of Bob Hope and Jiffy Pop. Perhaps; but sometimes I prefer that to the chattering, shiny, unmoored meta-reality that clatters out of the television sets, or the mouths of our pretty betters.

Amen, brother.

9:41 AM Nov 9, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

In among the Root Beer and Apple Store anecdotes, Lileks says:

Trolled around some radio and websites today, and noted something interesting: no rancor. Well, you say, this reflects the circles in which you choose to move, and I suppose it does, but the places I haunt were not brimming with outrage and fury and tales of Diebold deviltry or voter suppression. If anything, mixed among the rue and worry, there was something unexpected:


I’m serious: no one said as much, but I have the feeling that many on the right & center-right are relieved to have this Congress repudiated, as much as they dislike the potential effect of the alternative. Two more years of the same would have been two more years of tentative dithering, culminating in another appeal to hit the polls lest the Republic crumble. But we haven’t seen an innovation in policy or rhetoric since the last election. It is the adult thing to expect you will get half of what you want in politics, but this is not an excuse for making an lackluster attempt to get one-quarter and serving it up as one-hundred percent.

It's an interesting comment, and I think it has some merit, certainly in my own heart.

But I'm still a bit bummed by how it turned out. Mostly, though, I'm bummed by a conversation I had with some coworkers. That they are not Republicans is fine, that they have different ideas about how the Iraq war is/should go is fine too.

What I found depressing is the extent that they relied on the long-debunked arguments and talking points of the anti-war, anti-Bush left. Ideas I had found wanting and discarded months and years ago are the cornerstones of their arguments.

I think the worst, though, is when a normally sensible woman told me that "we'd killed 650,000 Iraqis," in an obvious parroting of The Lancet's disputed estimate, released on October 11th of this year in an obvious attempt to effect the US Elections. Did they succeed?

11:08 AM Sep 27, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Lileks ponders the evolutionary history of brain development:

There has to be a good evolutionary reason why we don’t remember our life when we’re six, but I can’t think of it. Perhaps the brain is designed to make us forget the trauma of watching parents or siblings dragged into the bush by tigers, followed by screams and squishy sounds, but given the tiger-free nature of modern life, it’s outlived its purpose.

10:31 AM Sep 11, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

Lileks remembers 9/11.

Also, in an accompanying Screedblog, he writes:

As a wise man once said: we will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

Unless the price is too high, the burden too great, the hardship too hard, the friend acts disproportionately, and the foe fights back. In which case, we need a timetable.

10:55 AM Aug 21, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

There’s a clinical psychological term for all this, and it’s “Pissed at Daddy.”

11:33 AM Apr 27, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

The Great One visited a local McDonalds and sized up the other patrons:

As we ate I noticed three new patrons, all in their mid-20s: a very attractive African-American woman, model slim without the hauteur; a good-looking trim Asian guy with wrap-around sunglasses, and a grinning handsome Caucausian with a soul patch and a knit cap. My God, it’s a royalty-free stock photo come to life! Really: they looked like the people you see on a website for some new useless internet service, grinning toothily at the camera. Or secret agents from a “Mission: Impossible” movie. They all wore leather jackets, too.

Swear to God: after they’d finished eating they walked, laughing, to the parking lot, hopped on three low-slung motorcycles, and roared off. If I’d seen all three in a McDonald’s commercial, I would have thought it nonsense, but here they were. Maybe this was a commercial. Maybe McDonald’s paid them to roam the country and administer Hip in small piquant slices.

Also, he has pictures from the grocery store. Thrilling....


11:16 AM Apr 4, 2006by Rob Ritchie

I haven't seen Peter Jackson's King Kong yet, which is a geek oversight on my part, for three reasons:

  1. Peter Jackson
  2. King Kong
  3. Naomi Watts

But the Great One did, and he wasn't impressed and he isn't kind:

If ever you find yourself in a flimsy gown standing on top of the Empire State Building under the crotch of a giant ape, screaming at the airplanes to leave him alone, your life has taken a wrong turn somewhere. Possibly at the 93rd floor. Possibly at 42nd street. Possibly at the point where you got on the tramp steamer to sail to the Pacific because you met a “movie director” on the street 45 minutes before. It all depends. There were signs along the way. But that standing-on-top-under-the-ape routine is the clincher, hon.

We’re meant to feel bad when Kong dies – and gee, I hope I didn’t ruin anything – because Jackson slows the speed, cuts the sound, lays on the cut-rate Enya, which is supposed to translate to Heart-Piercing Emotional Impact, but all it does is go back in time and ruin the similar approach in Lord of the Rings; if ever I see those movies again, and I see the ol’ slo-mo w/ mournful vague Celt vocalist regretting something or other trick, I will think, well, he pulled this shite with Kong, too, and that was huffed-up twaddle; wonder if this might be, too.

Normally, such criticism of The Man Who Brought Us LOTR (MWBULOTR) would be sacrilege, but I suppose a god cannot blaspheme. RTWT

1:34 PM Feb 23, 2006

by Rob Ritchie

In the Great One's latest Newhouse column, he asserts that Journalists Are Brave, Unless the Subject Is Islam, but concludes:

It will all blow over. The press will get its nerve back, and start investigating whether Jack Abramoff bought Cheney a beer in 1997 and thus impaired his aim in 2006, or something. They'll return to their old brave role: Questioning Authority. Unless it's located in Mecca.

6:02 PM Dec 12, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

While reading this amusing retrospective of the year by the Great One, I couldn't help but wonder:

Can't he write anything without mentioning Fargo-fargin'-North Dakota?

And if not, is that the secret to his success? 

A Thanksgiving Treat

11:49 PM Nov 24, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Pajamas Media has an interview with my favorite demigod / antiquarian.

Now back to the turkey sandwiches....

10:21 AM Oct 17, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

As usual, the Great One speaks the words that I cannot:

[F]rankly baseball bores me. Always has. Most sports do. I participated in a phone survey for the Timberwolves basketball team the other day; asked how many games I intended to attend, I pressed the number indicating “Zero.” Asked what was a major factor in my attendance choice, I waited for the option that said “Because it is basketball, and while I have an abstract appreciation of the athleticism and coordination involved in such an enterprise, I would rather sit in a soft chair and read a book. Even a book about basketball.” But the survey seemed fixated on matters of price and seat location and disinclined to press the matter of my general objections. Ah well.

Every sports event I’ve ever attended eventually felt like I was stuck in traffic. And then, after it was done, I’d get in my car, and be stuck in traffic.

...except for the part where the Timberwolves call; they know better than to call me.

And, I like to watch a ball game on occasion.

11:15 AM Sep 15, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

In His Newhouse column the Great One writes about the sorry state of civic memorials, with a special attention to the so-called "Crescent of Embrace:"

In this crescent -- a red one, in the mockups -- many see the symbol of Islam, which was not exactly represented by its best ambassadors on Sept. 11, 2001. Even the design committee noted the Islamic implications of the word "crescent," but went with it anyway -- perhaps to show that they were Citizens of the World, ecumenical in their sorrow, and surely not Islamophobic. (Islam is peachy! Unless it's in the Iraqi constitution.)

Grant them that. But you suspect they would never approve the Cross of Understanding, even if the designers intended the shape to represent the airplane that crashed. That would make the wrong people happy and the wrong people mad.

As always with His words, read the rest.

What a difference 1500 miles makes....

10:37 AM Aug 22, 2005by Rob Ritchie

At a time when I'm eyeing the thermometer as it hovers near 100 and ruefully facing another 10 weeks of this, Lileks is again moaning about Summer's end.

Summer is the tall pretty woman at the party who was here before but isn’t here now. You look up, look around; she was over there, talking to that guy just a minute ago. Or ten minutes. Whatever. It’s a great party; you don’t notice. But an hour later there’s a hole in the room, somehow; the mood’s changed, the momentum dissipated.

Actually, Summer is more like that lonely guy that comes to the house an hour early when the wife is still getting dressed and hangs around watching pay-per-view while you're washing up afterwards. He doesn't take your yawning hints that it's getting rather late, waving airily when you finally give in and announce that you're going to bed. "I'll lock up when I'm done," he says and settles in for a long stay. You sigh, defeated, and lie awake, wondering who, exactly, invited him and whether it'd just be better to move away before your next party....

Oh, and sometimes, he trashes the place.

11:14 AM Aug 18, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The Exploits and Exploitation of Cindy Sheehan

The hard left in America needs to realize a bald, cruel fact: Anyone who sees no moral distinction between Israel and the mullahs of Iran, or sees the U.S. attempt to set up a constitutional republic in Iraq as equivalent to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, suffers from incurable moral cretinism. The more the fervent anti-war base embraces these ideas, the more they ensure that no one will trust the left with national security. Ever.

Pious gratitude to: Der Perfesser

10:23 AM Aug 11, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The Great One hits with a couple of Screedblog posts.

6:04 PM Jul 28, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Thanks to Gary Gross I found this column by the Great One:

Let's Review What the Left Has on Judge Roberts

It's been a few weeks, and we still don't know exactly what John Roberts — if that is his real name — was doing when Roe v. Wade was decided. Working quietly in a college classroom? Playing pinball at the student union? Sitting in a darkened dorm mapping out escape routes for abortion clinic bombers? We just ... don't ... know.

Oh, sure: We've heard from the people who say they know him; we've heard about his charm and intelligence. (Like that means anything! Hitler was intelligent!) We've heard from both sides of the aisles about his temperament, rigorous sense of fairness and devotion to the Constitution. But other than that, and his previous extensive confirmation hearings, what do we know? NOTHING.

The man can write. Follow the link and prove you can read.

10:47 AM Jun 23, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The Great One explains it all:

Q: What is Gitmo?

A: Contrary to what some suggest, it does not stand for "Git mo' Peking chicken for Muhammad, he wants a second portion." It stands for "Guantanamo," a facility the United States built to see if the left would ever care about human rights abuses in Cuba. The experiment has apparently been successful.

Q: Who's in Gitmo?

A: Operation Scoop Up The Little Lost Lambs plucked men from distant countries and brought them to Gitmo to beat them deaf for no apparent reason. There are between 400 and 30 million people at Gitmo, and somewhere between zero and 15 million people have died there.

Q: That's quite the range. Do we have precise figures?

A: Well, technically, no one has died at Gitmo. Metaphorically, millions have perished, since Gitmo is the spiritual heir to assorted thug regimes -- except Saddam's, of course. Think Nazi death camps. Did you know one of the Nazis' Middle East allies was the grand mufti of Jerusalem, a Hitler admirer who was a mentor to Yasser Arafat? Funny how history works. Not ha-ha funny, but Seinfeld-ironic funny.

It's kind of like one of those "Ask a Mullah" sites, but less likely to advocate packing your orifices with explosives and nails.

10:50 AM Jun 13, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

You know, I suspect that if I gave myself over to my inclinations, I'd post a link to everything the Great One writes.*

But then, I'd be some sort of stalker. Don't want that.

However, I'll do one and risk it: go read today's Screedblog (now with permalinks!), where he's talking about the new Time cover story.

"The true horror of American Torture has been revealed. Let me make light of it."

*I'd appreciate it if you just went and read it all yourself; then I'd know we were all on the same page.

Screedy Goodness

10:44 AM Jun 10, 2005by Rob Ritchie

In the ScreedBlog, Lileks discusses this guy:

Got it? Modern life is barbaric. The plucked and shaved and moussed and hair-dyed fellow flouncing down the walkway with the Patented Serious Model Scowl is ready for some barbarism. Like what? Black belt with brown shoes? I am what I am. It worked for Popeye, as an unapologetic expression of being a short squinty sailor who stood foresquare against Blutoism. Here it’s an excuse for being a selfish fop who, without family or any other civilizing instincts, never considers that he might end up in some Clockwork Orange world having his teeth kicked out by some hooligans dressed in the height of modern fashion, sampling that delicious barbarism.

Click the picture and read the rest; it'll totally be worth it, man....

When is Lileks going to implement permalinks?

10:55 AM Jun 6, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Well, the Great One has joined the ranks of crass bloggery, and his initial offering discusses, what else: Piss Koran.

Stories like these must be told, of course, if only to show what the media finds important, and remind us how good things are going. I can imagine in late 2001 asking a question of myself in 2005:

What’s the main story? The smallpox quarantine? Fallout from the Iranian – Israeli exchange contaminating Indian crops? A series of bombings in heartland malls?

"Well, no – the big story today has to do with soldiers mishandling terrorists' holy texts at a detention center."

Mishandling? How? Like, you mean, they opened it up without first checking to see if it was ticking, and it blew up –

"No, they handled it in a way that disrespected it. Infidels are supposed to use gloves."

Oh. So we lost, then.

Not yet, but they're working on it.

10:34 AM Jun 3, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

I think Lileks is suffering under a misconception about his reader demographics:

Last day of Gnat’s school. They had a picnic outside with a band: a guy with a guitar and a guy with a bass. Nice patter and good musicianship, but they should tour high school and teach the kids a very important lesson. Look at us! We’re in our late forties, excellent musicians, skilled in the Path of Rock, and in the end it’s parties for four year olds. No doubt they enjoy their work; that's irrelevant. Point to young rockers: they are not living in a mansion with a limo in the bedroom with gold-plated champagne spigots in the backseat Jacuzzi; nor do they have a stable of foxy groupies waiting in the van. Maybe it’s enough to keep playing and enjoy what you’re doing – in fact, given that most who take up the Path of Rock fall by the wayside and foreswear the Axe, they’re ahead of the game. A gig is a gig. And the audience not only loved them, but was entirely sober, for a nice change. Still: if you young rockers out there think that the Path will lead to awesome debauchery for, like, forever: heed the Bear. It’s not all TV sets tossed off motel balconies. Sometimes it’s leading kids around a meadow making choo-choo sounds on your wirelessly miked bass.

It's a good point, but really, how many young rockers are reading his Bleats every day to get life pointers?

Ego and pride. That's all he is these days.

He does have a cool Nashville Cats allusion, though...except it's "clean as country water."

Feet of clay? I guess so.

7:20 PM May 26, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Actually, it's of little interest to me where the Great One decides to hang his hat; I can certainly sympathize with his desire to live somewhere warm.

But as long as I know his URL, he's my digital neighbor.

11:15 AM May 23, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Real busy today, so I can't do much posting.

But I direct you to today's Bleat.

James has been watching some movies. As it happens, I've been watching the same movies, and while our opinions don't agree entirely such that the corners are even, he speaks for me when he writes:

“Team America” was made by 17 year old boys who cut class to smoke cigarettes. “Star Wars” was made by a sophomore who was bumped ahead to the senior class because of his smarts, but never fit in and spent lunch hour drawing rocketships in his notebook. “The Incredibles” was made by 30 year olds who remembered what it was like to be 16, but didn’t particularly care to revisit those days, because it’s so much better to be 30, with a spouse and a kid and a house and a sense that you’re tied to something. Not an attitude; not some animist mumbo jumbo, but something large enough to behold and small enough to do. “Duty” is a punchline in “Team America”; it’s a rote trope in Star Wars that has no more meaning than love or honor any other word that passes Lucas’ cardboard lips. But it meant something in “The Incredibles,” and all the more so because no one ever stopped to deliver a lecture on the subject.

10:52 AM May 13, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

On this inauspicious day, the Great One reveals his dark secret:

I’m one of those retrograde hidebound [...]'s, alas.

What is he? Creationist? Who fan? Whig? Cyberluddite?

You'll have to follow the link to find out.

And thus my pointless plan to drive traffic to his site continues....

10:21 AM Apr 28, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Pimp Dog Toy knows how to paint a mental image.

Discussing Bratz™ Babyz™:

What exactly is the penalty for failing to keep it real in the crib? Someone busts a cap in yo Pamper? I know I am old and so out of step it’s a wonder I don’t just appear as an indistinct smear, but was it really necessary to push the Age of Sultry Hussyism down to the infant stage? And who, exactly, are the Babyz flaunting it for? Are we going to see a commercial with Elmo in sunglasses, sitting with his legs sprawled, spanking some pliant Babyz with one hand while gumming down some mashed crack?

10:16 AM Apr 20, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

From today's Bleat:

The selection of Ratzinger was initially heartening, simply because he made the right people apoplectic. I’m still astonished that some can see a conservative elevated to the papacy and think: a man of tradition? As Pope? How could this be? As if there this was some golden moment that would usher in the age of married priests who shuttle between blessing third-trimester abortions and giving last rites to someone who’s about to have the chemical pillow put over his face. At the risk of sounding sacreligious: it’s the Catholic Church, for Christ’s sake! You’re not going to get someone who wants to strip off all the Baroque ornamentation of St. Peter’s and replace them with IKEA wine racks, okay?

Exactly! Honestly, what do these people think the Pope is exactly? Of course he's conservative. To paraphrase Biship Wenski of Orlando, the nature of the Papacy is conservative, because its goal is to conserve the Gospel for future generations.

Plus, this:

At least my greatest fear didn’t happen: they’d choose a Pope from Africa, and, unaware with the nomenclature of American marketing, he would call himself “Urban.”


Update:  Meanwhile, and as usual, the Anchoress has thoughts of her own that put things into perspective much better than my own.

10:19 AM Apr 6, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Joe's back from his trip.

He brought something with him.

10:37 AM Apr 5, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

For the month of April, Lileks is trying an experiment:

I’m taking April off. But not entirely. I’m sure there’s stuff I’ll want to add throughout the days and weeks – hence this, the Sporadic, which may or may not provide something every day. I'm thinking of changing the entire daily portion of the site to include more blogging and less end-of-the-night-I'm-so-tired blather...

Hey, I like the "I'm-so-tired" blather, but if this will recharge his batteries, then I'm all for it.

His 04 / 05 update is interesting -- follow his links. If, as he suspects, this is an ad campaign, it's an elaborate one with lots of depth. If I had the mind to do so, I could spend a lot of time pouring over the messages and trying to figure it all out.

As usual...

10:56 AM Mar 28, 2005by Rob Ritchie

James gives us a poignant meditation on memory, family, loss, coffee-cake and the annoying permanence of material objects.

10:40 AM Mar 10, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Great Joe today.

I haven't linked to a Bleat in a long time....

10:37 AM Mar 2, 2005by Rob Ritchie

But he's got a good rant today, sandwiched between Judge Judy and Star Trek: Nemesis

11:04 AM Jan 14, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

You know, I'm really starting to like Joe.

Hey James, how about providing a link to the first page?

Update:  The first Joe page is here.

10:54 AM Dec 22, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

You know, when James Lileks gets going, he's an awful lot of fun.

He doesn't respond to his critics very often [the preceding statement is backed up by exactly 0 research, so you may actually find that he responds to his critics much more frequently than I remember], but when he does it's pretty brutal.

He defends a recent Backfence in today's Bleat against the ignorant snipings of James Wolcott (whoever that is).

Hey, I thought he was taking a break!

10:19 AM Dec 8, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

In today's Bleat, Lileks is, as usual, all over the place, discussing car repair and football hooliganism and morality and theater criticism.

He quotes at length from Clarence Darrow's defense of a couple of psychopaths, wherein Darrow asserts, basically, that we're all simply pawns in Nature's grip and unable to control our behaviors for good or ill.

Lileks skewers this with a simple arguement that I've never heard before:

But isn't it odd how the sociopath unable to constrain his desires never kills women on the courthouse square, but spirits away hookers in back alleys at 2 AM? It's almost as if he can control himself, isn't it.

Three words

11:03 AM Oct 27, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Lileks fisks Sully!

(Now, admit it: you know all three of these words, and they make no sense anywhere else but in the Blogosphere. Cool, ain't it!)

Lileks puts this nonsense to bed...

10:35 AM Oct 14, 2004by Rob Ritchie

If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve. If mailed the paychecks nevertheless, I will cash them with a heavy heart: really, the people of Minnesota deserve so much better.

11:20 AM Oct 11, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Pearls of wisdom from today's Bleat:

It’s one thing to inch towards the lifeboat when you overhear the crew talking about icebergs ahead; it’s another to run around shrieking like a little girl with a spider in her hair because you’re watching the movie “Titanic” and discover cubes of frozen water in your jumbo Coke.

11:48 AM Sep 20, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Why do I continue to assert that Lileks is a minor diety?

Show me someone else that can tastefully bring up Onan while writing about coffeemakers.

This, and more, in today's Bleat.

He's all over the place today.

In case you were wondering...

8:06 PM Sep 13, 2004by Rob Ritchie

11:10 AM Aug 30, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Go read the Bleat.

Yes, I know I always say that, but there's something sort of wistful and undefinable about it today. Not political, not by a wide margin (unless the mention of conservative talk-show hosts makes your Spidey-senses tingle); but interesting and thoughtful. Plus, Michael J. Nelson is mentioned.

The Speech

10:21 AM Jul 30, 2004by Rob Ritchie

As you probably know, I go to bed early, so I didn't stay up to hear Kerry's acceptance speech to the DNC last night. From excerpts I've heard and from what I read, it was well received by people predetermined to like it, which I suppose should surprise no one.

Lileks, naturally, has a take, which you will get to after you read through today's particularly bleaty Bleat.

"I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as President."

This really intrigues me. I agree that Vietnam was a defense of the United States, inasmuch as we were trying to blunt the advance of Communism. So: only Nixon can go to China. (Only Kirk can go to Chronos, for you Star Trek geeks.) Only Kerry can confirm that Vietnam was a just war. This completely upends conventional wisdom about the Vietnamese war, and requires a certain amount of historical amnesia. Why does this get glossed over? The illegitimacy of the Vietnam war (non-UN approved, after all) is a key doctrine of the Church of the Boomers; to say that service in Vietnam was done in defense of the United States is like announcing that Judas Ischariot was the most faithful of the disciples. Imagine if you were a preacher who attempted such a revision. Imagine your private thrill when everyone in the congregation nodded assent. The past was more malleable than you had ever expected.

Update:  Andrew Sullivan describes it as a "very liberal speech."

There was support for protectionism, and for penalizing the drug companies. Government-funded research into stem cells was described as revolutionary. But private drug research that has cured millions and saved my own life must be throttled to placate constituencies like the AARP.

Lileks smacks a Frenchman!

5:47 PM Jul 28, 2004by Rob Ritchie

It's a little late, but worth the wait.

Lileks vs. Moore!

10:42 AM Jul 8, 2004by Rob Ritchie

My favorite writer takes on my favorite topic.

Pinch me! I must be dreaming!

10:21 AM Jun 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Lileks (who else?) has some thoughts on Star Trek's General Order 24:

It’s just surprising to know that Starfleet had the nuke & pave option, but it tells you something about the 60s. Star Trek was very much a liberal show in its day, but it’s early-60s liberalism. JFK-New-Frontier liberalism. We come in peace, and we’d like to invite you to join us; if not, so be it, but if you honestly think I’m going to beam my crew down to walk into disintegration chambers to fufill your treaty obligations, you’re going to start losing cities. Capisce?

China. France. Germany. Russia.

10:33 AM May 28, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Past a tale of Gnat-terror, Lileks takes on the Big Four.

I was going to put in an excerpt, but it's all too good. Just go read it.

One Internet Sensation As Ordered

10:37 AM Apr 7, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Lileks puts it all together

10:05 AM Mar 26, 2004by Rob Ritchie

I know that just about every other blog will have this link, but I don't want to be left out. Lileks is terrific today. Go read him.

Update: Naturally, Glenn Reynolds has more.

Useless idiots

11:27 AM Mar 22, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Today's Bleat is about the pro-Saddam (uh, I mean, anti-war) demonstrations this weekend:

These people want “freedom,” but only for themselves. Freedom to preen. Freedom to flatter themselves that they are somehow committing an act of bravery by Speaking Truth to Power. But they’re speaking Nonsense to Indifference. Pictures of Bush as Hitler sieg-heiling away would get them killed if this was truly the country they insist it is. Nothing will happen to them. They know it. They would be killed for doing this in Saddam’s Iraq, of course; they know that too. Doesn’t matter. Bush is worse than Saddam, in the macro sense.

Also on this post is a link to a site with over 100 photos, categorized by idiocy. Here's my favorite:

12:04 PM Mar 19, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Lileks has a particulary fine Bleat today.

Oh, we have it all today: pointless personal details about which no tinker could be convinced to part with a damn, reviews of products you’d never buy, obvious insight-free political remarks, and the application of a cheese grater to the shin of a New Yorker writer who would be vaguely amused to learn that a Minnesotan is critiquing his Times Square piece – on the internet, no less. Let’s begin.

I like the internet.

5:29 PM Mar 8, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Introducing the Kerry Doctrine

There you have the Kerry Doctrine. Wherever people struggle against a corrupt and unjust kleptocracy, President Kerry will give them two days to knock it off, or he's sending in American soldiers to shoot them.

10:27 AM Feb 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

I know, I know, two "Lileks" posts in a row seems a bit obsessive, but this guy makes me so envious it isn't even funny.

Case in point (for today): in today's Bleat, in the middle of his usual mix of homey anecdotes and homespun wisdom, he writes about his PC Laptop, and how it's acting up and will be sent to the Chestnut Tree Café.

He provides a link on that last proper noun, and following it like the puzzled soul I was, and found myself on a page with the last chapter of Orwell's 1984, which bears that title, and zing!, I remember that this is where Winston Smith is assassinated, since he is no longer useful to the Party.

Hurray! I get the reference! With a little prodding, I actually understand an offhand comment which assumes a familiarity with one of the seminal works of 20th Century English literature. Lileks is equated the fate of his laptop computer, which has outlived its usefullness, to that of Winston Smith, who was similary troublesome.

OK, I haven't read the book since I was in high school, so I feel I can be excused for not automatically remembering that the Chestnut Tree Café was the place where political prisoners were sent to be murdered.

But I'm deeply envious of a guy who is so talented that he can use it successfully as a metaphor for a hardware upgrade. And I'm similarly envious that he feels comfortable using such a metaphor.

10:42 AM Feb 16, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Lileks has redesigned his site!

Thrill to his use of the Gleeburger font!

Screedy Goodness

10:41 AM Feb 5, 2004by Rob Ritchie

I’m waiting for an ad that simply puts the matter plainly: who do you think Al Qaeda wants to win the election? Who do you think will make Syria relax? Who do you think Hezbollah worries about more? Who would Iran want to deal with when it comes to its nuclear program – Cowboy Bush or “Send in the bribed French inspectors” Kerry? Which candidate would our enemies prefer?

O the shrieking that would result should such an ad run. You can’t even ask those questions, even though they’re the most relevant questions of the election.

Plus, a picture you'll never see on Democratic Underground.

10:57 AM Jan 22, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Lileks reviews a children's Star Wars book:

It’s bad enough that Lucas invented Jar Jar in the first place; it’s bad enough that they made childrens’ books with him, but Anakin is DARTH FRICKIN’ VADER. To have him show up and dispatch the bully by suggesting that Jar Jar has mob connections is so totally farged I can’t even begin to untangle the moral idiocy of the story. Boil it down: young Damien from “The Omen” saves Rastus McWebfoot from a beating by claiming that the Corleones have his back.

Now he's just bragging

11:10 AM Jan 16, 2004by Rob Ritchie

A couple of days ago a guy named Dennis Perrin wrote this column for the Citypages, a alternative freeby paper they hand out in Minneapolis, criticizing James Lileks's Bleats.

Basically, and I'm not really doing good service to him, Perrin is mad because Lileks uses his personal web site to talk about political beliefs that are at odds with Perrin's own beliefs. He suggests that perhaps Lileks should return to writing about the homey stuff that he's also well known for.

Well, I'm not the only fan of Lileks, and a round-up of his defenders can be found here on Instapundit. Opinion seems to be that Perrin is an envious little wart who's stuck writing for a freeby newspaper while Lileks (who holds all the wrong beliefs) is a successful and well-known writer.

Not that Lileks needs defenders. Here's what he wrote yesterday.

So: do you think the guy who wrote that article called up this site today, hoping he’d find a foamy-mouthed point-by-point reply?

Maybe. Who cares? Let’s talk about the stars.

Pretty classy, just ignore him and go about your business, right?

But they say that living right is the best revenge; today's Bleat goes out of its way to show how good Lilek's has got it! National fame! Lucrative book deals! Desired weight loss! More work than he can handle!

Read it and weep, Dennis.

Update: This original draft of Perrin's column has just come to light.

12:41 PM Jan 2, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

In today's Bleat, Lileks talks about movies, movie trailers, politics and the 30's. As usual, it's terrific!

And the next trailer is for Indistinguishable Central American Village Drama #234 – well, look at that! It revolves around a big dinner with dishes indiginous to the Guapo region of El Salvador! Never saw that coming!
Go read and enjoy.

3:04 PM Dec 29, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

If US aid to Iran comes as a surprise to anyone, then they don’t understand the US.
I'm so glad he's back

6:03 PM Nov 24, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Nancy pointed me to this Lileks column at Newhouse:

The Trouble With Al Gore's Screed on Civil Liberties

One waits for Gore et al to admit that the Republic's greatest peril doesn't come from a man who took the fight to the enemy's stronghold, knocked off two horrid tyrannies AND proposed generous prescription drug benefits in his spare time. One waits for them to be as worried about Osama's heirs as they are worried about John Ashcroft's power to tap the phone of the next Mohamed Atta.

10:45 AM Oct 31, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Today's Bleat is particularly amusing, especially the part at the bottom where he's discussing 70's song lyrics.

And his stuff about dogs is, as usual, terrific. I've never had a dog, but he makes me want one.

That's what I'm saying

10:51 AM Oct 9, 2003by Rob Ritchie

From today's Bleat:

One building had a gigantic mural devoted to hope and remembrance. I’m sure it’s just an accident that this wretched culture of ours didn’t put up something reminding us to smite the bearded foreigners and run their blood into the gutters. An oversight. Last minute mistake.

I'm not saying that we're perfect, far from it. But there's something good in us that sets us apart from the savages. And how 9/11 is remembered at Ground Zero, at the spot where we were stabbed in the heart by those savages, is only one expression of that something.

This isn't what Lileks is about today, but then, in a way, it's what he's about every day.


10:52 AM Sep 25, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Lileks put up a new matchbook today, and I thought it might be of interest to my Cincinnati peeps.

Any of you old timers ever visit this place?

10:41 AM Sep 18, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

I'm off site for the rest of today, so there won't be any posts. (Yeah, so what else is new?)

But go read the Bleat

I’ve read enough editorials from various papers from this period to reinforce something I’ve long suspected: the reason many editorialists hate this war is because they don’t feel it’s theirs.

Don't pick sides

10:30 AM Sep 10, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Lileks discusses Dean and his recent remark that the US shouldn't pick sides in Israel's terror war:

When we read a story about an emergency-room doctor blown up with his daughter, and we read about people pouring into the streets to celebrate the doctor's death, we should look deep into our hearts and find that most precious commodity: eternal forebearance of Jew-killers.
Read it all.

10:49 AM Sep 5, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Lileks is discussing times gone by:

...if you have to excrete down a hole into a buzzing pile and wear burlap pants, you have a difficult time convincing me that those were the good old days.
Plus, he responds to someone who accuses him of being an Angry White Male. Go Read!