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CSotD: Potpourri

I’ll get to politics in a minute, but I’m a little burned out on the topic, so let’s start with some less fraught things, such as fish breath.

I’ve never had a sardine omelette, but Wallace the Brave brought back a memory of kippered herring, which my mother liked and which, alongside some scrambled eggs or crumbled within them, makes a great breakfast that sticks to your ribs.

But kippers are, in this country at least, becoming hard to find, perhaps because of kids putting their feet down and refusing to go to school smelling of them. Of course, we could have had them for supper, but, even then, I think you’d need to have run us through a high-pressure steam-cleaner the next morning, because those babies have lasting power.

I never gave much thought to sardines until I read The Virginian, which set the standard for all Westerns.

In it, the cowboys all carry cans of sardines, because they’re compact and jammed with protein, and you slurp down, rather than pour out, the oil. Calories matter when you carry your food with you on horseback.

They also carried canned tomatoes and, for a treat, canned peaches, drinking the liquid as well as eating the solids.

Canned food was a vital part of the Old West, and if you go to a real ghost town out there, you’ll find piles of tin cans outside each cabin.

 

(Everyone knows “When you call me that, smile,” but here’s my favorite quote from the novel.)

 

One more nonpolitical entry, this from xkcd and I’m not nearly as amused by the pesterware now built into Gmail as he is.

I did like the way it has, for a couple of versions now, picked up the word “attachment” in your email and on the fact that you hit “send” without attaching anything. It has saved me several follow-up emails.

(Back in the day, O Best Beloved, we called that an “ohno second,” the moment between hitting send and realizing you forgot an attachment or, worse, that you used “reply all” on something you really, really should not have.)

I’m not sure why Google decided to dumb down Gmail with suggested answers and reminders, and it may be as innocent as trying to make it work easier on phones.

I also realize that it’s not hip to use email, but that judgement seems to come from people who also complain (justifiably) about not being able to find good jobs.

Those of us with good jobs need email. And real computers. And we know how to use them both without a built-in backseat driver.

 

Now, then, we come to today’s Non Sequitur, and an example of people without ideas of their own being careless of who they borrow’em from.

The barkeep is right: Belief in supply-side economics, like belief in the Six-Day Creation, is based on religion, not logic or history.

People who believe the world is 6,000 years old have constructed elaborate explanations for things like fossils in order to avoid confronting the obvious flaws in their system, and people who believe in trickle-down are equally adept at explaining why it works, despite there being no evidence of it ever having done so.

And they’d rather accuse you of blasphemy than engage in a meaningful debate on the topic.

This similarly applies to Dear Leader’s Wall, except that, while there are no examples of the idea ever having worked, there are multiple examples of it having failed, in China, in Berlin and on the border between France and Germany.

And Dear Leader brings us back to the Virginian’s man with no ideas, because he just offered a totally off-the-wall explanation for why his BFF’s country invaded Afghanistan in 1979, and indicated his approval of the move.

Trump having long since turned the old line, “If you want to know what he thinks, find out who he spoke to last,” from a joke into a matter of national security.

 

The fundamentalism continues in this Jimmy Margulies piece, because Trump’s idea of “negotiation” is “Let’s sit down and talk until you agree with me.”

It’s like the “What do you want to watch tonight?” discussion, which really means “Let’s scroll through Netflix until you guess what movie I’m thinking of.”

Political negotiations are simply a matter of give-and-take. You give, I’ll take.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Pat Bagley)

 

(Scott Stantis)

So Mitt Romney is entering the Senate either out of a beneficent ethical calling or from ambitions of mounting a primary challenge to the incumbent, and neither Bagley nor Stantis expect that he’ll be able to turn back the tide.

We’ll see.

When Romney won the Senate seat, the question was whether he would stand up to Trump, and his scathing Op-Ed seemed to draw the battle lines, though we’ll see if he (heh heh) Flakes out when it’s time to cast an actual vote on the Senate floor.

Having been a New York resident when Bobby Kennedy carpetbagged his way into a Senate seat in 1964, and again when Hillary Clinton did it in 2000, I know what it’s like to see half your Senate representation turned into a presidential springboard.

There is a difference in that both Kennedy and Clinton served for a few years before wandering off into Presidential Primaryland, but Romney doesn’t have the luxury of time.

The more important difference is that Clinton went for a vacancy while Bobby challenged the incumbent, a move he only flirted with until after Gene McCarthy proved it could be done, whereupon Sirhan Sirhan provided us with one of the great What-Ifs in modern American history.

Romney’s no Kennedy, but the question is whether he’ll find a Gene McCarthy to help put a chock under that rolling, flaming Dumpster, or to agree that the Emperor has no couth.

 

The critical point being that, whether Bobby or Gene broke the ice, getting a majority to rise up against LBJ’s war wasn’t a huge challenge.

Jack Ohman‘s view of the shutdown suggests an optimistic parallel.

 

Community Comments

#1 Will Henry
January/3/2019
@ 7:55 am

Thanks for the shout out, Mike! Happy New Year

#2 George Corbett
January/3/2019
@ 9:45 pm

For about a day after google added the Smart Compose [aka pesterware] feature I got a kick out of the oddly inappropriate things it thought I might want to say; then it became increasingly irritating. Fortunately I found the place in the settings page to turn the feature off. As of now it is still an option.

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