Friday, November 30, 2007

Lying liars

I just published a comment about some post I couldn't identify making some point I couldn't quite decipher. It had something to do with Satanism, which is perhaps all the explanation required.

Anyway, I was struck by the last line: "Please, if you are going to tell utter lies, at least get your facts straight."

A piece of sound advice for us all.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I'm trying to stay out of things that are none of my business, but the post-Thanksgiving shopping spree just gets to me. Even though I would rather have an ear cut off than to do it myself, I don't care that people get up at 2:30 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving for sport shopping; everybody has to have a hobby. It's not much different than hunters getting up at 2:30 a.m. so they can draw a bead on an elk at sunrise.

But elk don't celebrate Thanksgiving, and they get up early anyway. What bugs me is that, as the link above reports, stores like Best Buy, which normally have 50 people on duty, brought in all 140 Billings employees at 5 a.m. Friday to meet the rush.

Thanksgiving always has been my favorite holiday, with all the perks of Christmas without the pressure. More than that, it is a uniquely American holiday, a day for pulling together the disparate bonds that hold us as a nation. To see it cut short for millions of retail employees just for sport -- well, it gets to me. And I would feel the same way if I knew that every single one of those employees was pleased as punch to be up at that hour. They ought to know better.

It's un-American. As for the sport shoppers who make it happen, I'm with Ari LeVaux: Let's get the FBI after them.

Friday, November 16, 2007

And they aren't free either

This bit of unconventional culinary wisdom comes from the menu at Torres Mexican restaurant: "Chips and salsa are not complementary."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Vets day

I think I just had my best Veterans Day ever. For years I have argued (as Mike Royko used to) that veterans should get Veterans Day off. It has never made sense to me to celebrate Veterans Day by giving bankers and government bureaucrats a holiday. I've always had to work on Veterans Day, and I've had no desire to sneak in a celebration by marching around and saluting Old Glory. Sorry, no offense to patriots, but Veterans Day to me is a day to celebrate not having to march or salute anymore.

Of course, the son of a bitch who runs the Outpost wouldn't let me off, but MSU Billings shut down on Monday. So I took Saturday off -- a rare event during the school year. And I did nothing: watched the Texas A&M football game, read a little German, sat in the hot tub, washed dishes, changed a couple of light bulbs, cooked short ribs with gravy, drank some wine and hot rum, played bridge with friends.

Then Monday evening the wife and I went to the Golden Corral for the free Veterans Day feed. They did it up right: all you could eat, no questions asked (except: "Are you a veteran?"). There was a huge crowd when we arrived, but everybody was cheerful, the line moved right along, and we wound up sitting at a table with a guy who had served in the Air Force in Vietnam and with his father-in-law, who had been in the Navy in World War II. We had a pleasant talk, good food, and I didn't have to pay a nickel.

I've been out for 34 years and finally had an enjoyable Veterans Day. Maybe the war really is over.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Listening to Rush

I have often thought, and occasionally said, that one reason conservative talk radio gets better ratings than liberal talk radio is that liberals are more willing to listen to conservative talk than conservatives are willing to listen to liberal talk. A new poll from Zogby International and the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School provides some hard evidence that I'm right about that:

The extensive interactive survey of deeply held beliefs and behavior patterns – conducted June 26–29, 2007, including 3,939 adults nationwide and carrying a margin of error of +/– 1.6 percentage points – shows that liberals were much more likely than conservatives to listen to commentary and entertainment with which they disagreed philosophically.

The numbers:

While 22% of conservatives said they “never” enjoy entertainment that reflects values other than their own, just 7% of liberals felt the same way. At the other end of the scale, just 11% of conservatives said they “very often” enjoyed programming that ran counter to their personal philosophies, compared to 20% of liberals and 18% of moderates who said the same thing.

Given a country that is closely divided along partisan lines, that may be enough to make all of the difference.

UPDATE: Also this tidbit: "Over 80% of liberals admit that they are entertained by material that’s in bad taste. Almost 40% of conservatives say they are never entertained by it."