Random musings on whatever subject strikes my fancy, published every other day.

Author: David Frier Page 1 of 369

Tura Lura Lura

Traditional, if somewhat Americanized version of this Irish classic

Van Morrison and The Band bring it up to date without letting go of its sweetness

Ignore it and it will go away?

This is how it’s going. The forces of fascism are not letting up, people.

#NoParody — as usual, the reality of our crazy decaying society defies the ability to create parodies of it. Poor Tom.

Cat Tree in Bloom

Here’s a #Caturday post for you. Our girls on their new comfy tree.

America’s Abstract Freedom

Kottke laid this awesome quote on us today:

Americans are, of course, the most thoroughly and passively indoctrinated people on earth. They know next to nothing as a rule about their own history, or the histories of other nations, or the histories of the various social movements that have risen and fallen in the past, and they certainly know little or nothing of the complexities and contradictions comprised within words like “socialism” and “capitalism.” Chiefly, what they have been trained not to know or even suspect is that, in many ways, they enjoy far fewer freedoms, and suffer under a more intrusive centralized state, than do the citizens of countries with more vigorous social-democratic institutions. This is at once the most comic and most tragic aspect of the excitable alarm that talk of social democracy or democratic socialism can elicit on these shores. An enormous number of Americans have been persuaded to believe that they are freer in the abstract than, say, Germans or Danes precisely because they possess far fewer freedoms in the concrete. They are far more vulnerable to medical and financial crisis, far more likely to receive inadequate health coverage, far more prone to irreparable insolvency, far more unprotected against predatory creditors, far more subject to income inequality, and so forth, while effectively paying more in tax (when one figures in federal, state, local, and sales taxes, and then compounds those by all the expenditures that in this country, as almost nowhere else, their taxes do not cover). One might think that a people who once rebelled against the mightiest empire on earth on the principle of no taxation without representation would not meekly accept taxation without adequate government services. But we accept what we have become used to, I suppose. Even so, one has to ask, what state apparatus in the “free” world could be more powerful and tyrannical than the one that taxes its citizens while providing no substantial civic benefits in return, solely in order to enrich a piratically overinflated military-industrial complex and to ease the tax burdens of the immensely wealthy?

Three Cheers for Socialism by David Bentley Hart in Commonweal Magazine

Beginning with the staggering success of the Marshall Plan, which enabled the triumphs of socialism in Europe, the American Right (who would have been happy to leave it all to Hitler) started a hate campaign against everything associated with it, tarring it all with the brush of Stalinism.

Now, “Commie” is a vicious insult among uneducated Americans, who wouldn’t recognize actual Communism or Socialism if it jumped up and hit them on the nose with health care or workplace justice.

It’s not clear if the US is salvageable.

Bowling Balls

photo: David Olson/Detroit Free Press

A Michigan man found 158 bowling balls under his back steps while doing a bit of site work for a new deck. This is usually going to be one of those news items that’s mildly amusing, and a little odd, and a pleasant diversion.

But then there was a line near the end of the story that caught my eye and literally made me a little more pessimistic about the USA and whether it can be saved from idiocy. Or even whether it should be.

He also donated eight balls for a nearby church to use in a bowling ball cannon at a pig roast.

What…? The…? Fuck…? “Bowling ball cannon”? That’s a thing? Why, yes, yes it is. I hit up Duck-Duck-Go and discovered a place that makes these. They are fired using black powder, and have a range of almost a mile.

That paint job is perfect.
Nothing says “‘Murrica!” like this.

Just the kind of entertainment you expect at a church picnic. What could be more “meek shall inherit the Earth” than launching 16 pounds of hardened rubber capable of destroying the neighbors’ barn? Or the neighbors.

By the way, if you’re wondering why this is legal, it’s because you use black powder. Black powder is simply gunpowder that’s only almost as efficient as the powder used in modern ammo. So you’ll only kill people a little less dead with it.

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