Kirk Israel's commonplace and blog. Quotes and links daily since 2001.
"Small Government" means "a government small enough to spend my money only on things that I am interested in and not tax me for the rest". It is used by political opportunists to unify a diversity of short-sighted, selfish people under a common flag, expending the gathered political capital to achieve their own agenda. It results in the three D's: deregulation (usually the first victim, can't make money if the government is limiting profits on necessary services), degradation (of the existing infrastructure and services benefitting the bottom portion of society), and deception (of the middle class, telling them everything is looking rosy while the stability of the class below them crumbles).

While it may mean a specific policy within different Libertarian camps, its abuses by the the current [Bush] administration are well documented. The "small government" promised by the president in the 2000 campaign has devoured the entire surplus and increased debt to record levels. Many of our safeguards of a civil society have been removed or gone wanting for enforcement while this "small government" parades around the globe on the cheap capital it flooded the market with between 2001 and 2005.

"Small government" is a complete red herring, uttered by those who would make the government subservient to the capital it creates and defends. This self serving attitude would have prevented the National Highway System, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Hoover Dam, and the eradication of Polio.
EB, my estranged debate partner, on my blog comments in 2006, when my blog's daily comment section was a small community, pre-Facebook. That day had some decent followup debate and dialog.

BABAM closing yesterday's climate strike at the Boston Statehouse:
Successful, yet pointless quest: I finally found this Arby's commercial that I saw in Cleveland in the 80s, and is what I think of during any mention of the word beef:

I remember writing about it 11 1/2 years ago and looking for it every once in a while since. (I misremembered the yee-arr as being earlier in the spot, when he proclaims how he wants lots of beef...)
Listening to the Judge John Hodgman podcast (recommended) and the topic is saying God Bless You after someone sneezes. As a precocious kid I was all too happy to explain that I said "Gesundheit" instead, that it was the German word for health, and "Bless You" was based on old superstition about demons getting in or out during the sneeze or something, and was therefore a little spiritually suspect. (These days I prefer "Gesundheit" just because it's more fun to say loudly.)

I guess that's an early instance of me favoring objective Truth (i.e. the nature of God and demons) over cultural practice.

Actually, I'm still a little fuzzy on the verb "to bless". Like, asking God to bless us or someone else makes some sense (even if it's asking God that whatever his preordained divine plan was, couldn't it pleased be tweaked a bit in our favor?) but then in the Bible you see people called upon to Bless the Lord, etc. Is that a reference to some kind of inner divinity humans carry? Or, is it from God to human a blessing is like good fortune or happy attribute (in the "she was blessed with a keen wit" sense) but from human to God it's like general praise and thanks?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has a great response to Shane Gillis and the art of the non-apology.
Saw David Byrne's "American Utopia" the other night.... balcony seats at the Colonial - not good if you have vertigo!

Fun show - I didn't really grow up with Byrne's music, but some of his later collaboration songs like "Toe Jam" and "Lazy" were included. The set was a giant bead curtain, that framed the stage like the back and 2 sides of a giant cube with the main performance in the middle. Some of the songs had a lot of fun with light and shadows - making figures giant or distored or in one case like a b+w TV screen ala poltergeist.
September 18, 2019
I just reread "A View From A Broad", about The Divine Miss M's 1978 world concert tour:

(I think this scene is from a later tour of hers, but the Delores character and the harlettes were very present in the book.)

The book is full of wild prose and photos. For me it's one of those books you find on your parent's book shelf as a kid, and it shows you a part of the world you just have no idea about, and then lots of little tidbits just stick with you or generally inform your view on certain topics - for example, she signs a letter in it "Your everlovin' sometimes blondie" - I've always been awkward with signoffs on letters, so I stole that and devolved it into "Your Ever Lovin' Kirk" for emails to my mom during college days, and now I'm YELK and my mom and Aunt Susan are MELM and MELAS in our mutual correspondence and texting.

The passage I've been thinking of the most over the years is this, where she sneaks into a generally off-limits-room at a library in Hawaii when she is ten and finds a book that had been left out:

Of course, [The Decay of Lying] wasn't about telling falsehoods at all. It was by Oscar Wilde and it was really about masks and how the only interesting thing about someone is the mask he wears--not the "real" person behind the mask. The persona was what mattered, not the person. According to Wilde, all that someone had to do to be devastatingly exciting was to make up a fabulous mask.
(She goes on to say "All I needed was a great persona, and that I could invent.)

I find the concept resonates with me, and my current view that it's mostly the interactions that matter - surface, not essence. (In this stance, the internal life only is interesting to the extent it informs what mask and set of interactions we undertake...)

Another passage from when she's in Paris shopping at Les Galeries, having tussled with the clerk about her French, and then checking if the basket she's trying to buy would fit on a boy's bike...

"Ah, mon Dieu! Boys' bikes! Girls' bikes! We have no such things here," he almost shouted. "Only in America do bicycles have gender. It's just another part of your obsession with sex."

"Oh, really?" I said, incredulous that we were going at it again. "The French ain't exactly slouches in that area."

"Ah, but for us sex has always had its time and place. Lovemaking is an art and, like a great painting, should have a frame around it. You have lost that notion in America. It spills over into everything."

I think about this passage a lot. Having a mildly repressed childhood, I've always liked it when I see that frame erased a bit, where you can see a hint of a connection between normal commonplace life and sex - say, a preference for the stretchy cotton tanktop to the fancy black lingerie that declares "now we are in the time of sex".

Also the book lists 4 of those great "I will never forget it" Soph and Ernie jokes, and I think it was where I first encountered Spring and Fall ("Margaret, are you grieving"...the first poem I remember calling a favorite poem.)

Other bits:

I'm as confident as Cleopatra's pussy
(The hypothetical interviewer claims that this is either a way for Miss M to hide her true feelings, or maybe just a total disregard for the simplest rules of civilized conversation.)

She quotes from what turns out to be Tom Waits' song "Shiver Me Timbers" (a piece Midler covered) - ... I really like this cover by Katie Ferrara On an anecdote that had a woman planning to name a line of pro-woman diapragms and douches after Dido the queen:

Somewhere in the back of my mind I seemed to recall that Dido killed herself unloved and untouched, but I thought it best not to mention that to Cecily.
Being moral isn't what you do, I have often tried to tell her, it's what you mean to do. And, naturally, I always mean the best.
Hitler had only one big ball.
Goering had two, but they were small.
Himmler had something sim'lar,
But Goebbels
Had no balls
At all!
"I don't take anything. I'm high on life."
"Where can I get some?"
Death is to the dead as life is to the living.
Finally she signs off:
You know, I wanted to leave you with the memory of the good beneath the gaudy, the saint beneath the paint, the pure little soul that lurks beneath this lurid exterior . . . but then again I figured:

Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke!


Bette Midler and Fran Frank, her dresser, portrayed in the book as a uptight and Boston-y.
Love is like a flower bending towards the light: stupid
Probably bad idea: had a momentary flash of wanting this as a tattoo...

The phrase just popped into my head, as I find myself getting all tightened up about conflicting band schedule issues... such a good reminder from Porkypine there.
Saturday was a busy day for JP Honk... we started with the Augment parade- here's a close up of my favorite tuba accessory, the piles of cheap Mardi Gras style beads, $1 for about a dozen strands at Dollar Tree...

photo from Now+There's twitter feed that has some good photos. Also, see Donna Dodson's video of the band.
Oh and earlier that day I posted this, with my usual selfie joke "feeling cute, might delete later" which is two half-lies.

Next time I'm explaining why the concept of "well now it's a level playing field across these demographic groups" is false I should remember to link to these 3 paragraphs of Fran Lebowitz where she puts it rather well...
I like to think that the house I grew up in dreams about me sometimes, too.

Sequin pillow magic.

Play Chess and Lose Weight! Albeit at the grandmaster level. I had no idea it was so gruelling!

I never got deeply into chess - probably because I wasn't naturally great at it once I learned the moves, and too full of myself to struggle with getting better. I think I had a handheld game of it that I could beat, and an Atari 800XL program that I couldn't. I remember by friend Beau was terrific at it.

I wonder what percentage of people who grew up in the USA know all the chess moves?