Can American exceptionalism be revived?  At City Journal, Alan C. Guelzo gives a cogent reasons why we can, after a look at our history and the three legs of its foundation:  political, economic and diplomatic.

I believe that the American experiment, based on the Declaration and embodied in the Constitution, belongs to an exceptional moment in human history, and remains exceptional. I believe that the U.S. economy is flexible enough to recover its mobility and astonish the world with its capacity to disrupt artificial barriers. And I believe that we can repair the deviations we have sustained from an overconfident mission-mentality without needing to accommodate ourselves to the mores of globalization.

Read it all (it’s long, but very worthwhile).  However, there’s a whole ‘nother essay brewing in his final analysis:

Can this, realistically, be done? Can we disentangle our public life from the grasp of the new hierarchy of bureaucrats and, overseas, pull back from foreign-policy crusades? Can we, in short, recur successfully to our first principles?
Well, we did it once before[emphasis added]

And it’s getting to the point, I think, where we may have to do it the same way as the Founders did it.  As the man said:

Artificial Milestones

Ever since I turned 21 (the age of majority back then), I’ve not bothered with any more birthday milestones, except where others (e.g. wives / girlfriends / buddies) have turned it into one.  I remember my fortieth (I think) because we threw a party which I turned into a costume (Eng. “fancy dress”) party — and I used it as an excuse to invite longtime friends I hadn’t seen for a while.  As I recall, the theme was “Vanished Civilizations” so that People With No Imagination could arrive in togas — and nobody did, which shows the imaginative nature of my friends back then.  (Hippies, Fifties-era bobbysoxers, 1930s gangsters and so on… I dressed myself as a Viking, complete with battle-axe.)  So popular was the party that my friends implored me to make it an annual event, with different themes;  thereafter we dressed as Pirates, Priests ‘n Prostitutes, My Worst Nightmare, Bad Taste (for that, one woman came dressed as her husband’s ex-wife, complete with 1980s shoulder-pads and massive hair).

The actual anniversary (my birthday) was quite forgotten, as it should be — I refused offers of presents and all that shit from the very start — and the parties, for the next half-dozen or so years, became a fixture in our social calendars.  And when I moved from Chicago to New Jersey (and got divorced in the process), those parties ended, never to be replaced.   They were an occasion to celebrate friendship, and after the first one, the dates varied wildly, dependent to a large degree on how many of us would be in town at the same time.

I do have one birthday coming up which is of no consequence at all other than it marks the date I’ll be eligible for MediCare.  But otherwise… fach, as they say in Scottishland.

This all came to me while I was reading this little tale of self-absorption:

Why I cancelled my 50th birthday bash
There’s a bigger problem when you are trying to put together a party of tricky 50-year-old egos. That’s the recently sober, the ones who are still looking down — nay, levitating in holier-than-thou, po-faced judgment — upon the rest of us.
Recently cleaned-up types are so readily upset by even the most jovial party animal, it’s hell working out who sits next to them.
Eventually, though, I did the table-planning algebra and I drew up my list and sent out the invites to 40 good friends and family. And then a whole new horror reared its ugly head. The ‘polite decliners’.
They can’t come to my 50th because they’re off counting their gold in another country for the entirety of the summer, or they have encircled Sundays as special family days that they can’t possibly sacrifice. There needs to be a barren spinster sad face emoji.

That’s all well and good.  But what’s the magic in a number divided by 10?  Simple answer:  there is none, other than that created by lazy journalists (e.g. 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, as though that’s relevant to anything) and Hallmark Cards (“Happy Half-Century, Yo!”).

The idea of celebrating these artificial milestones of one’s life irritates me for some reason.  I’d rather celebrate meaningful anniversaries  — this year marks my twenty-first anniversary as a U.S. citizen, for example, and the only reason I didn’t celebrate the twentieth  thereof was that I never noticed it.  (It was triggered a couple weeks ago by someone asking me how long I’d been a citizen, and I had to go and check my naturalization certificate.)

And don’t give me that guff about “it’s an excuse to have a party” or similar:  no adult needs an excuse to have a party, FFS.  (It’s almost as bad as those fools who say they never drink until 5pm;  what bullshit, if you feel like a drink, have a fucking drink.  Life’s too short to let your life be determined by some arbitrary position of the hands on a clock or, for that matter, the page of a calendar.)

Speaking of calendars, here’s Esquire Magazine’s November 1954 page, with the relevant birthday circled: 


…and just so y’all know:  the only reason I celebrate November 19th at all is to remind you lazy bastards to buy ammo.

I’d Never Have Watched It Anyway

Seems as though the Communist Broadcast System (that would be CBS  to you lot) has decided to cancel some TV show because it sucked.

CBS has decided not to renew the “modestly rated” but notoriously inaccurate military drama [The Code] for a second season, Deadline reported on Tuesday, just one day after the first season finale.

Whatever.  When I was flipping through TV channels on my DirectNOW service the other day, I discovered that CBS has withdrawn all its channels (including the “free” CBS broadcast channel) from the service (which, by the way, is the only service I’m allowed at my apartment complex, to my infuriated irritability because AT&T).  In the future, it seems, the only way I’d be able to watch any CBS channel is to subscribe to their poxy service.  Like that’s going to happen.

No great loss.  It’s irritating, of course, but not really a problem for me.  Other than golf’s Masters  tournament, there’s not a single fucking thing on CBS that I would watch for free, let alone pay for.  (And I’ll just stream The Masters  from somewhere — and if that’s impossible, I’ll just forget about the whole thing.  It’s not like golf viewership is going great guns anyway;  as Baby Boomers are starting to die off, their patronage of golf in general is not being replaced by the younger generations, so fuck ’em too.)

As it is, I’m rapidly getting sick of having to subscribe to every fucking thing I want to read or watch.  Netflix is getting the evil eye from me too, because frankly, their content is starting to suck.  (As with all this nonsense, the demand for content is quickly beginning to outpace the ability to create quality material, so I doubt I’d miss much.  Ditto the so-called “premium” cable TV channels.)

There’s not a single newspaper (paper or electronic) I’d subscribe to either except maybe Britain’s Daily Telegraph, but it doesn’t carry enough U.S. news to suit me.  (As an aside, I loved reading the dead tree Telegraph at Mr. Free Market’s place when I was there on my sabbatical, and if I lived in Britishland I’d subscribe to it in a heartbeat.)  As for American newspapers… oh please, they all suck.  Barely a week goes by without my getting some solicitation to subscribe to the Dallas Morning News, to which my stock response is:  “Stop publishing all that leftwing crap and I’ll think about it.”  It’s not like the DMN  was a quality paper to begin with.

And my habitual response when seeing something like this is simply to click the “Exit” button because I refuse to pay for the whole newspaper when I’m only interested in reading the (very) occasional article.

Not even if it’s a “free” subscription, because just I know you’re going to sell my info to every list strip-miner in the world.

News magazines?  Don’t make me laugh.

Let’s face it:  the news business nowadays is awful.  It’s not just a political issue, either.  As that little pissant in the Obama administration said, young journalists nowadays know absolutely nothing.  My corollary is that the older ones may know a little more, but they’re  all rancid Commies like has-been CBS anchor Dan Rather, so why should I bother with any of them?

Oh, and by the way:  AT&T’s DirectNOW doesn’t offer One America News (OAN), probably the only news channel worth watching for more than five minutes.

Oh well.  Less time reading or watching bullshit-masquerading-as-news means more time available for the range. Just for the hell of it, I think it’s time to break out the old Browning 1885 High Wall (.45-70 Govt).

Now that’s  what I call entertainment.

Copyright Maze

It appears that the U.S. Senate is getting serious about people using stuff they found on the Intarwebs:

A bi-partisan bill working its way through Congress could drastically change how copyright claims are processed, and would create a system to impose up to $30,000 in fines on anyone who shares protected material online.
In other words, the Congress wants to make it easier to sue people who send a meme or post images that they didn’t create themselves, essentially a giveaway to lawyers who sue unsuspecting suckers for a living.

…and once more, a little more of life’s pleasures is sucked dry by the lawyers and politicians.

One of these days, I can see people going to a party sued by the studios (especially the godless Disney Corporation) just for wearing a character’s costume without prior approval from an attorney at Bloodsucker, Lamprey and Leech LLP.

Having recently been sued (and forced to settle out of court) by some cocksucker and his copyright huckster attorney for using an old photograph (which can be found all over the Internet and which had no attribution when I found it, so copyright was impossible to establish in the first place), I know exactly what’s involved here.  (And if he or his shyster butt-buddy should chance to read this:  by not identifying you or the work involved, I’m not breaking the terms of our agreement, you money-grabbing motherfuckers.  It’s the principle  I’m talking about — not that either of you would even begin to comprehend the word.  FOAD.)

So as of today, expect to see only memes and such created by myself (e.g. see below), unless linked to the site of origin.

And that goes for the lawyers’ little lickspittles in the Senate as well.  FOAD all of you, too.

Let ‘Em Die

Here’s some new foolishness.  Apparently, vegetarians and of course Muslims are getting pissed off because a flu vaccine contains trace amounts of… wait for it… pork gelatin.

Next month, every healthy child between two and 10 in England will be offered Fluenz Tetra to increase herd immunity.
Muslim parents are reportedly refusing to allow their children to have a nasal flu vaccine because the treatment is not halal.
Concerns were first raised over the spray – Fluenz Tetra – containing pork gelatine last year, but the issue has been highlighted again ahead of a new nationwide drive.
At the time, the Vegetarian Society branded the use of the ingredient in three vaccines as ‘disappointing’, while the Muslim Council of Britain said the spray would only be permitted if there was no alternative and lives were at risk.

So don’t give it to them, and if kids die from it, c’est la vie — or rather, c’est la mort.  (And by the way, I haven’t heard from Orthodox Jews, but the same applies.)

I am so sick of the general population being placed at risk because of a minority’s baseless fucking superstitions.  Children often get sick from flu, but the people most at risk from deadly influenza are the elderly, for whom flu vaccines may actually be harmful — hence the government’s efforts to inoculate the little pox factories so as to prevent the spread of infection in the population at large.

Here’s my (totally impractical) suggestion:  after the inoculations have taken place, if any elderly person dies of the flu, find a random family of refuseniks and fine them $50,000, proceeds paid to the surviving family members of the deceased.  And I don’t care whether the refuseniks are Muslims, Orthodox Jews, vegetarians or Hollywood-type trendies like Gwyneth Paltrow.  These medical Luddites need to face the consequences of their decisions, and the sooner the better.

No Shit

What would we do without science?  From Italy:

A raft of new research shows that watching junky cable and other lowbrow TV is actually making people dumber — literally lowering their IQs.

Of course, some may say that this finding only applies to Italians — who were the ones studied — but somehow I’m pretty sure that it’s a universal phenomenon.  (Of course, I’m no scientist, so feel free to disagree with me.)

But as always, there’s an agenda:

“The language codes that were popularized by TV also made people much more susceptible to the populist party because they used very simple language,” Ruben Durante, one of the paper’s coauthors, said. “They used accessible language. And that can potentially be very powerful.”

I love that term:  “accessible language”.  In other words, people are more likely to be influenced by language they can actually understand, instead of by the circumlocution and orotundity found in, say, academic writing.  So those bloody ignorant peasants are going to respond more positively to “Build a wall!” than to “Multiculturalism can be fraught with a multiplicity of challenges”.

Quelle surprise.

I am reminded of the wonderful zinger (and I paraphrase):  “That argument is so indisputably, miserably wrong that it could only have been made by an intellectual.”  In this case, the statement is so blindingly obvious that it could only have been made by a scientist.