Monthly Archives: December 2013

Happy New Year!

Dubai just put on the largest fireworks display ever to ring in the new year. Over 500,000 fireworks were set off in six minutes. Some of Dubai’s top landmarks were incorporated into the show, including one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

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December 31, 2013 · 11:15 pm

The best and worst of 2013

Unusually Stupid Primates of the Year: All the lunatics in the insane asylum at MSNBC (see video above). As you can see it’s not really a cable news station, but more like Animal House for Leftists. Unfortunately not featured prominently in the video is Melissa Harris-Perry, who outdid herself this year by claiming the word “Obamacare” is racist, wearing tampon earrings to express her support for late-term abortion and capping off the year this past weekend by presiding over a segment on her show in which Mitt Romney’s family was mocked for adopting a black child. Well done, guys!

Dumbest/most absurd articles of the year: I thought I had all my worst articles of the year picked out, but then this beauty showed up yesterday and I had to add it to the list. Yes, the people criticizing Obamacare’s Pajama Boy ad are doing it because they’re anti-Semitic. Nailed it, pal! Good grief. By the way, I’m going to try and post articles here that I haven’t already posted in other blog posts…

So many great exercises in absurdity from Salon this year, but this is undoubtedly one of my very favorites: “The Conjuring: Right-wing, woman-hating and really scary.” Here’s a New Year’s resolution for American “feminists”/Leftists: Focus less on searching pathetically for hidden “misogynistic” messages in American movies/video games/TV shows/songs and focus more on real problems that women are having in the world, like gang rape in India, “honor killings” and acid attacks in the Muslim world, FGM in Africa, etc. etc. Seriously, is there anything more tedious and boring than a Western feminist? Example two: I’m sure there’s some sort of point to this article but all I got from it was, “I HATE WHITE MEN I HATE WHITE MEN I HATE WHITE MEN!!!” That wasn’t the only rubbish published in The Guardian this year. They gave Salon and Slate a run for their money. A speech in which TV producer David Simon has an argument with himself over whether or not America should slather itself in Marxism or not, which turns into a lamentation about the “horror show” happening in America and the “two Americas,” made it into the pages of the British paper. Yes David, there are two Americas. One America is spewing collectivist bullshit and Marxist dialectic. The other America is trying to figure out how to live by/get around the onerous regulations and petty little rules the David Simons of the country impose on them (all in the name of the “greater good” of course) so they can earn a living and feed their families. They also published a hilariously nonsensical piece by idiot “comedian” and socialist Russell Brand, whose idea of writing is apparently to get high, randomly open up a thesaurus and write down every word on whichever page he lands on. Here’s a sample from the piece:

“What does the slung-about, bounced-around adage that ‘Politics is show-business for ugly people’ actually mean? I suppose that the narcissism and self-interest that motivates many entertainers is what lurks behind the ashen, jowly facades of most politicians. That politics is bereft of altruists, philanthropists and idealists but instead throbs and bristles with stunted show-offs, who, granted flatter abs and cuter noses, would be jiving and caterwauling on Britain’s Got Talent or staring with glum vacuity down the barrel of a camera in a mock corridor in Holby City. This pith squirt stings because we want our politicians to be motivated by high ideals and compassion and not to secretly seethe every time Harry Styles impeccably saunters through the public mind with hair that gently binds his scalp to the heavens and mankind to the angels. When I met Caroline Lucas MP, the member for Brighton Pavilion, in an electromagnetic instant I was assured that I was in the company of a high-caliber individual.”

And, of course, no “Worst Articles of 2013” list would be complete without picking one of the many “The Tea Party/Dallas/Republicans/Texas oilmen are responsible for JFK’s death” articles we were treated to on the anniversary weekend this year. Then there was this hilarious Politico piece blaming Obamacare’s problems on our stupid brains. Americans just aren’t smart enough to choose their own health insurance plans, according to the author. Yes, that must be it! Because it’s not like Americans had to do that (with even more choices) before Obamacare’s web portal of doom was shoved down our throats. And finally (though I could go on forever), this piece from The Nation on how the problem with Hugo Chavez was that he wasn’t authoritarian enough, is priceless.

Best columnists: Charles C.W. Cooke, Mark Steyn. Too many great pieces from these two to pick specific favorites. I post and quote them often, so I’m sure you’re quite familiar.

Worst columnists: Joan Walsh, Michael Tomasky, Tom Friedman. Joan Walsh of Salon spends her entire life finding racism everywhere she looks and crying about how bad she feels about being white. Seriously, it’s all the woman does, besides obsessively hate on Ted Cruz and defend Obama no matter what. It’s incredible. She finished the year off with an article titled, wait for it, “2013: The Year in Whiteness.” As for Tomasky, well this was probably my favorite 2013 piece of his. Adorable. Thomas Friedman is also terrible, mostly because he’s been writing the same goddamn column – fueled by the thoughts of whatever taxi driver he happens to get in whatever authoritarian country he happens to be admiring that week – for at least a decade now.

Best song and/or artist: “Blurred Lines” was undoubtedly the song of the year, and a very worthy one at that. For artist I would say Taylor Swift, not just because she writes her own songs (which is rare these days…and they’re catchy), but because unlike the vapid, boring, unerotic, cesspool of a girl below, Taylor Swift is classy, feminine and sexy.

Worst song and/or artist: Miley Cyrus. Can we make a New Year’s resolution, America, to never pay attention again to this sexless skank who possesses no measurable talent? You want some real role models for young girls? Try Malala Yousafzai or Rachel Washburn.

Favorite intellectual: Camille Paglia. I’ve waxed on about her before. Read this profile/interview that came out a couple days ago in the WSJ.

Best bookThe Liberty Amendments by Mark Levin. I’ll review it later this week or next.

Best blogs/bloggers: The Ace of Spades blog is witty, insightful and varied. Instapundit is great for interesting links and short quips and commentary on it. National Review‘s Corner blog is fantastic. I link to it all the time. Reason‘s Hit and Run blog is my final recommendation this year.

Worst blogs/bloggers: I used to really love Andrew Sullivan’s blog, and I still like it for the variety aspect because he does cover a wide range of interests, from politics to literature to science, etc. However, his writing has become a huge turn off for me. He’s shifted far to the left since Obama was elected and practically worships the man…almost as much as he worships Catholicism, about which he constantly prattles on about, especially on weekends. So, basically I like the content (links, etc.) of his blog but I can’t stand him as a writer anymore. And of course, Matt Yglesias is just awful, as CJ Ciaramella noted last month.

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December 31, 2013 · 11:04 pm

Afternoon Links

Why are businesses fleeing California? The recent Sriracha controversy, where the state shut down the plant for 30 days, not because there’s anything wrong with the sauce, but solely due to a regulatory issue, is the best example. Steven Greenhut reports:

The company was founded by David Tran, who fled Vietnam in 1979, borrowed $50,000 and began distributing sauces out of his van. It has turned into an international phenomenon— the winner of praise from gourmet magazines, the subject of a documentary, and now a potato-chip flavor. It’s reportedly a $60-million-a-year business. Problems started after Huy Fong Foods was lured out of its older Rosemead facility into a $40-million plant on 23 acres in Irwindale. The city financed the plant with an interest-only loan as it sought tax-generating businesses. But some residents claimed that the plant caused them health problems including nosebleeds and heartburn. In November, a judge ordered the company to halt any odor-causing operations even though, as the Los Angeles Times reported, he found a “’lack of credible evidence’ linking the stated health problems to the odor, but said that the odor appears to be ‘extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses warranting consideration as a public nuisance.’”…It’s ironic that the city would at one point help a facility and then punish it for doing what it is supposed to do…“California has a large tax load that in turn funds a large administrative state that has to be busy,” notes former California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, now vice president at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation in Austin. He has authored a forthcoming study showing that California employs far more regulators than most other states. But perhaps Huy Fong officials will solve the problem by seeking out locations that don’t subject them to lawsuits and costly production stoppages. A spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office confirmed that it has “reached out” to Huy Fong Foods. The company has also been contacted by an official in Pennsylvania.

Apparently, the VA used to lobotomize WWII vets with psychiatric problems, since there were no drugs. Terrible.

A fascinating look at Michelangelo’s David. Morgan Meis writes:

Michelangelo chose to make David — the giant-killer — into a giant himself. Mostly this has to do with accidents of history and dumb luck. There was a huge piece of marble lying around Florence in the 15th century. A couple of sculptors had tried to make a statue of it. But the block was tricky to work with, so tall and thin. No artist was yet up to the task. In 1501, Michelangelo, 26 years old at the time, said he could do the job. He promised to bring David out of the marble. David was a special figure for Florentines. This was Italy during the Renaissance: a collection of city-states and principalities usually at war with one another. This was a time of warrior popes and family feuds that killed hundreds. The people of Florence wanted to see themselves in David. Florence was the little city that could stand up to all the others. Plus, Florence had the powerful banking family, the Medici, to deal with. The Medici were always threatening to dominate Florence, economically and politically. In the late 15th century, the city kicked the Medici out of Florence. Defying the Medici was another David-like act. Problem was, the Medici had already commissioned a sculpture of David. That’s the famous statue by Donatello. With the ousting of the Medici, the people of Florence wanted to commission their own David. They wanted to take back the symbol for themselves. So, Michelangelo solved two problems at once. He solved the technical problem of making a giant sculpture out of a giant block of marble. And he solved the problem of political symbols by creating a statue so overwhelming to behold that David would forever be associated with the Republic of Florence. The irony is that Michelangelo had learned to sculpt under the patronage of the Medici family, but his most famous work was a repudiation of their claims over the city.

Fill your New Year with stars with these cool space wallpapers.

See the Louvre and Falling Water as you’ve never seen them before: made out of gingerbread.

A 25-year-old project manager from Pennsylvania won an original Picasso from Sotheby’s for $138.

This week Jeffrey Gonano, a 25-year-old from Wexford, Pennsylvania, had the winning ticket— one of 50,000 in an online charity raffle organized by Sotheby’s in Paris. Worth an estimated million dollars, the small drawing—L’Homme au Gibus (Man with Opera Hat)—was conceived by the French artist in 1914 and picked up from a New York gallery by a charity organization dedicated to preserving Tyre, the ancient city in modern-day Lebanon. Those behind the auction said tickets were purchased by art enthusiasts from France to Kyrgzstan, but that Americans accounted for a large number of buyers.

The madness of not letting citizens choose their own lightbulbs. From the pen of Robert Bryce:

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 — one of the most pork-filled bits of federal energy legislation ever passed by Congress — continues to haunt us. That legislation, signed into law by George W. Bush, forced more ethanol into our motor-fuel supply. And come New Year’s Day, it will effectively eliminate a type of light bulb — the standard 40- and 60-watt incandescent — that consumers have been using since the days of Thomas Edison. (The January 1 ban on 40- and 60-watt bulbs follows the phase-out of the 75- and 100-watt incandescent bulbs that took effect at the beginning of this year.)…The bottom line is obvious: If consumers want to buy more-efficient light bulbs, then let them do so. Let the market work. We don’t need government to restrict our lighting choices.

“‘Global warming’ scientists trapped in expanding Antarctic ice” HAHAHAHAHAHA Oh, irony.

The Russian Orthodox Church scored a few points in the “Most Absurd Church” competition last week…

Russian police have opened a probe into a play based on Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband staged by Moscow’s MKhT theater, which the Russian Orthodox church slammed as “blasphemous.” The probe into Idealny Muzh. Komediya (An Ideal Husband. A Comedy), written and directed by Konstantin Bogomolov, was opened in response to complaints by four private individuals questioning whether the play is in compliance with the law, the Russian wire service Interfax reported…”From my point of view, [the performance] contained the profanation of the crucifix symbol, as an almost totally naked woman imitated it,” Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Mark Steyn berates his own editor. LOL. I love it.

Very sad. RIP Mohammad Chatah.

The stupid party 

An unlucky deer makes for some very lucky cheetahs.

Two cheetahs at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo came across unexpected prey and the result was predictable. Zoo officials say a white-tailed deer was killed by the cheetahs after it apparently jumped into their enclosure on Friday.

An art historian has found two art works stolen by the Nazis inside Germany’s parliament.

Australian sharks are warning swimmers via Twitter if they are approaching the beach.

Scientists from the area have fitted 320 sharks with special transmitters that track the animals’ movements. If a tagged shark swims within a kilometre of any beach along the west coast, a receiver will trigger an alert, which then generates an automatic warning tweet…Each tweet details the breed of the shark as well as the time it triggered the alarm and the shark’s approximate location.

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Video of the Day II/Image of the Day

45 years ago today, the iconic “Earthrise” photo was taken. The moment when man was awed, not by the moon being so close, but by Earth being so far away. The first glimpse the human species got of our beautiful home suspended majestically in space. A small, fragile sphere in the middle of the vast, black universe, with billions of life forms depending on it for survival. It makes one feel so small, yet in another way, so big. It was a photo that really did change the world. Watch the video above to hear the astronauts’ reaction as they saw it and scrambled for the camera.

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December 24, 2013 · 9:58 pm

Video of the Day

Inspired by this Rich Lowry tribute to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – the most beautiful, moving piece of music ever written, the anthem of humanity – check out this trailer for a documentary on it, out this month. From Lowry’s piece:

In a season of joy, it is worth dwelling on and marveling at the world’s anthem of joy, arguably the best piece of music ever written, which hasn’t lost its power to astound after nearly 200 years and, as long as there is such a thing as civilization, never will. It is, of course, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Everyone knows the unforgettable melody of its “Ode to Joy,” the fourth movement that sets a poem by Friedrich Schiller. Performances of the symphony always feel like an event. When the Berlin Wall fell, it was natural that Leonard Bernstein turned to the Ninth at the celebration…Beethoven began composing the Ninth in 1818, when he was already deaf, but had thought about setting Schiller’s poem to music as far back as the early 1790s. The symphony premiered in Vienna in 1824. The story goes that Beethoven was on stage beating the time and, with his back to the audience, couldn’t hear the applause. A singer turned him around so he could see the rapturous reaction…Dismayed by the ascendancy of reaction in Europe, Beethoven meant the symphony to be an enduring expression of his faith in democracy and the brotherhood of man…It is a testament to Beethoven’s achievement that his masterpiece is familiar to the point of ubiquity — the anthem of the European Union no less — yet still vital. A new documentary, Following the Ninth, traces its impact on people around the world. A few months ago, 60 Minutes did a segment on a plucky, against-the-odds symphony orchestra in the desperately poor Congo. Its rendition of the Ninth is ragged, but heartfelt and as moving as anything ever performed in Vienna.

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December 24, 2013 · 9:36 pm

Video of the Day

LOL The best Democrat quotes of 2013.

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December 23, 2013 · 4:44 pm

Braggin’ Rights!!

It feels good to bring the Braggin’ Rights trophy back to Champaign-Urbana, where it belongs. What a great game! 65-64 – Down to the final seconds in one of the greatest rivalry games in college basketball.

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Tracy Abrams was pumped about making those free throws…

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Merry Christmas, Illini Nation. Merry Freakin’ Christmas!

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