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Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Look, mom, that woman has a pee-pee!

Posted by Richard on January 8, 2016

Leon Wolf reports at Red State (emphases in original):

The Washington State Human Rights Commission, a regulatory agency, has been empowered by the Washington State legislature to draft legally binding rules for businesses to prevent “discrimination” on the basis of “sexual orientation and gender expression[.]” The commission has released its final rule, and boy is it a doozy.

Among other things, the rule makes it illegal to ask “unwelcome personal questions about an individual’s sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, or transgender status.” In other words, not only can women not prevent a person with full male equipment from entering their restroom or locker room, they can’t even ask what he is doing there.

Given that the rule applies to schools as well as businesses, your child can now run afoul of this law if they encounter one of the increasing number of prepubescent kids who are victims of the particular species of child abuse where parents tell their 8 year old kid they are transgendered.

As to what constitutes an “unwelcome” personal question about a person’s gender expression, the rule does not say; presumably, the person who is being questioned has sole discretion over whether to make someone into a lawbreaker or not.

The rule also makes it illegal for a business (including a school) to deliberately misuse the pronoun any person would prefer, thus meaning that Washington State has joined the city of New York in fining people who call human males “he” if they decide they want to be called “she.”

Our society has collectively lost its damn mind. It’s difficult to imagine a society so full of rot that it would allow a rule like this to be promulgated in a major political subdivision can expect to last for very long.

It is to laugh. Or to cry. Or maybe to engage in guerilla theater. What do you say, guys? Go to Seattle, join a gym, strut into the women’s locker room, and declare yourself a lesbian trapped in a man’s body!

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Russians enter “Crappy American Beer” market

Posted by Richard on September 26, 2014

The Russian beer and soft drink company Oasis Beverages has bought Pabst Brewing Company, makers of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz, Lone Star, and Colt 45, among others. The Washington Free Beacon’s Sonny Bunch is OK with that:

If we’re being honest, though, we would note that the Russians are getting into the “Crappy American Beer” market much too late. The time of bland suds has passed. The future is craft beer:

Craft beer makers have experienced huge jumps in market share while the overall beer market size has shrunk. The Census Bureau announced yesterday that the number of breweries in the in the U.S. doubled in five years–an increase largely due to craft beer. On average over the past two years, 1.2 craft breweries opened each day, contributing to a total of 15.6 million barrels of beer last year.

Now, granted, 15.6 million barrels is only a modest portion of the overall beer market. According to the Wall Street Journal article quoted above, craft beers account for just eight percent of the market—an increase of more than 300 percent in 15 years, but a distinct minority of the beer population nevertheless. Still, one can’t help but feel that the future is bright for the craft beer community.

The mass-produced American beers of years gone by have their place, of course, and hey: to each his own. A lot of people still like Bud and Miller, and they should drink what they like. But their time has passed. A new day dawns. A day of tasty craft brews with complex flavor profiles that you can match with a variety of dishes. I for one welcome our craft beer overlords—and am more than happy to let the Russians have our dregs.

I’ll drink to that!

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Males, but not men

Posted by Richard on July 12, 2013

In the last few years, a lot of people have been expressing concern and/or making urgent recommendations about the rearing of children in general and boys in particular. See, for example, this, this, thisthis, this, this, and this. The statistics regarding boys and young men that some of these sources cite are disturbing. And the problem is more wide-ranging and fundamental than the growing educational achievement gap (boys receive three-quarters of all Ds and Fs and are barely over 40% of college graduates).

For real human examples of the consequences of not properly rearing boys, Daniel J. Flynn says to look no further than the Zimmerman trial. As everyone awaits the jury’s verdict, Flynn has already reached his (emphasis added):

They don’t make men like they used to. One can consult a Danish study that shows plummeting testosterone levels for scientific confirmation of this. Or, one could more easily turn on any cable news network’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Zimmerman-Martin case, a tragedy involving two males fumbling in the dark on how to be men.

Whatever the protagonists may be guilty of they are surely innocent of being men.

Zimmerman’s screams and Trayvon slamming Zimmerman’s head into the concrete weren’t the acts of men. A man is neither a woman nor an animal. The proper response to an assault by a 158-pound teenager isn’t to scream for help or grab for a gun. It is to punch back or better yet subdue and issue a spanking. And a sucker punch, the repeated hitting of a downed opponent, and the bashing of a skull against the concrete doesn’t pass muster with the Marquess of Queensberry. Perhaps the “No Holds Barred Fighting” dojo that Zimmerman had signed up for would approve.

Their households lacked strong male role models; their society, even more so. Four in ten American kids enter the world without their father married to their mother. When schoolboys begin to exhibit traits natural to their sex, the energetic fellows earn the wrath of detention and Ritalin. Any game that highlights contact — from dodgeball to football — comes under attack. Primetime television celebrates the fop and makes a buffoon out of fathers (see Simpson, Homer; Everybody Loves, Raymond). Jobs relying on the physical characteristics favored in males have been outsourced to robots and foreigners. When a pundit asked “Are Men Necessary?” a few years back it reflected the scarcity rather than the superfluity of the genuine article.

Civilizing men out of existence has come at great cost to civilization. Instead of men, we get feminine imitations lacking beauty. We get lost boys compensating by becoming barbarians. We get Sanford, Florida, February 26, 2012.

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The Republican “hip gap”

Posted by Richard on January 28, 2010

I never heard of Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter (R-MI) (TGM or Thad to us cognoscenti) until I saw that "hip gap" link at Instapundit, clicked it, and saw his commentary at Check it out: 

It permeates the public’s consciousness and Big Media obsessively promotes the perception to our detriment.  Yet, like a canker on a suitor, polite Republicans won’t discuss it.  No longer, however, can we pretend the issue doesn’t exist.  It does and, though painful to admit, we must confront the truth.

Republicans have a “hip gap.”

This is not to say Democrats are hip.  People who squander their precious breaths of life poring over Das Kapital, practicing rhythmic chanting with Kindergarten lyrics, chaining themselves to national monuments and/or writing memoirs prior to accomplishing anything are utter stiffs.  They can only pass themselves off as cool in comparison to…well, us.

Oh sure, we’d like to think this is just another slanderous Leftist attack on Republicans.  But, let’s be honest:  a large gaggle of GOPers have yet to put a toenail into the Twenty-First Century’s cultural crosscurrents – or, for that matter, the Nineteenth’s.

Still, let us not curse the darkness.  Let us light a cultural candle to illume our whereabouts upon the path to hipness.  Thus, the following is a True or False pop culture test.

Take a look, take the test, and report your score. If you can figure it out. 🙂

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Canada’s sperm shortage and related matters

Posted by Richard on September 3, 2009

Mark Steyn was the "undocumented guest host" today on the Rush Limbaugh Show. I listened to a bit of it at lunch, and he totally cracked me up. It seems that Canada is suffering from a sperm shortage. The entire nation of 30 million people has only 33 sperm donors.

I figured Steyn had probably written a funny column about that. But before I got around to looking for it, a friend had sent me the link. It's quintessential Steyn — brilliant writing, wicked humor, and groan-inducing word play sprinkled with enough serious truths to make it more than an amusing trifle. Canada's sperm shortage, you see, was created by the government:

… Apparently, the 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act makes it illegal to pay donors for sperm. I mean, it wasn’t even the usual Canadian Wheat Board-type racket whereby you’d only be able to sell your seed to the Canadian Sperm Board at a price agreed upon by representatives of the federal-provincial Semen Commissions. Instead, they just nixed the whole deal, and, once Johnny Canuck found out he wasn’t going to be remunerated, virtually the entire supply dried up.

As a result, this once proud Dominion now has to import sperm. According to CTV, 80 per cent of Canadian women who conceive through donor sperm are getting it from the United States, mainly from men in Georgia and northern Florida. Canada’s future is now in American hands.

You know how it is: you wait ages for a good sperm story and then they all come at once. It seems there’s also a shortage of the stuff in Sweden. But, in contrast to Canada, this is caused not by government intervention in supply but by a surge in demand, from Swedish lesbian couples anxious to conceive. Inga and Britta had been trying for a child for ages but nothing seemed to work. Then it occurred to them this might be because they’re both women. So they headed off to the sperm clinic, whereupon the Sapphic demand ran into the problem of male inability to satisfy it. There appear to be higher than usual levels of non-functioning sperm.

Don’t worry, I’m not being Swedophobic in mocking the watery emissions of Nordic manhood. It’s a widespread problem: “Concern As Sperm Count Falls By A Third In UK Men” (the Daily Mail, 2004). … Still, even for a demographic doom-monger such as myself, you could hardly ask for a more poignant fin de civilisation image than a stampede of broody lesbians stymied only by defective semen, like some strange dystopian collaboration between Robert Heinlein and Russ Meyer set in a world divided into muff divers and duff donors.

 Read the whole thing . Then delve deep into the 490+ comments — really, it's worth it. Some are unintentionally funny, and others are intentionally funny (a call for a "cash for spunkers" program). Some add useful information and insights (another cause of Canada's problem: their courts have held sperm donors liable for child support!). And some are just good comments:

george: I'm shocked that anyone alive today is still able to write like this.

Kevin: The idea that sexual freedom is the only freedom left is met by an immediate cry to censor. Who said Irony was dead?

reliapundit: liberty without natural law isn't libertarianism; it's libertinage.

the postmodern left has rejected natural law and embraced moral and cultural relativism.

these people want a paternal state in which the parent supplies food, shelter, clothing an allowance but also let's them stay out all night uses drugs sleepo with anybody and anything and not be required contribute a penny to household expenses or work doing any hopusehold chores.

iow: postmodern lefists are the functional equivalents of teenagers.

I think reliapundit is onto something. In my experience, we are simply awash in mature adults who are the functional equivalents of teenagers. And the vast majority of them are leftists.

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The Stoning of Soraya M.

Posted by Richard on June 26, 2009

With Iran and human rights so much in the news, it's appropriate that director Cyrus Nowrasteh's The Stoning of Soraya M. is opening this weekend in select theaters across the country. The film is based on the acclaimed international best-seller of the same name by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, and the story is true. It was runner-up to Slumdog Millionaire at the Toronto 2008 Film Festival, and critics are heaping praise on it. Jeffrey Lyons thinks female lead Shohreh Aghdashloo's performance is "a serious Oscar contender" (she was previously nominated for The House of Sand and Fog).

Hugh Hewitt:

The movie is beautiful and deeply moving, and the film's opening would have been an enormous story even had Iran not erupted in a long-suppressed general demand for freedom from tyranny.  Stoning is an abhorrent practice, but one that still goes on in Iran, as recently as March of this year, according to Radio Free Europe, when a 30-year old man was stoned to death for adultery.
Some apologists for the Mullahs point to the official moratorium on stoning that Iran adopted early in the decade, but ignore that the practice still goes on and that the law permitting the penalty has not been repealed.
Much more to the point, though, is the fundamental evil of a law code that consigns all women to a second-class status and through which the worst sorts of cruelty are not merely not punished but even endorsed.
“The Stoning of Soraya M” does not portray the Iran of Tehran or the other industrialized cities.  It is a poignant picture of rural and remote Iran, the Iran we have been told again and again supports Ahmadinejad against the urban elites that have been pouring into the streets of the major cities for the past 10 days.

Every American who sees “The Stoning of Soraya M” will emerge from the theater far wiser about what is driving the revolt of the people in Iran.  These demonstrators want their freedom from theocracy.
That theocracy reaches down into every aspect of every life, and its totalitarian demands for control over every aspect of life make it the cousin of every repressive police state that stained the 20th century. 
Americans cannot deliver aid to the demonstrators, but they can attend a movie that outrages the Mullahs.  A large box office for “The Stoning of Soraya M” sends a message to the Mullahs that won't be mistaken: Americans support the end of their medieval rule. 
The Stoning of Soraya M. is opening at these theaters either this weekend or in early July. If one of them is near you, go see this film.

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They’re taking Kodachrome away

Posted by Richard on June 23, 2009

I’m saddened to hear this, even though I haven’t shot any slides in years:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Kodachrome, the film brand touted as the stuff of memories, is about to become a memory itself as Eastman Kodak stops production due to overwhelming competition from digital cameras.

Eastman Kodak Co said it will retire Kodachrome color film this year, ending its 74-year run after a dramatic decline in sales.

“The majority of today’s photographers have voiced their preference to capture images with newer technology — both film and digital,” said Mary Jane Hellyar, president of Kodak`s Film, Photofinishing and Entertainment Group.

Kodachrome was once the film of choice for many baby boomers’ family slide shows and gained such iconic status that it was celebrated in the mid-1970s with a song of the same name by Paul Simon, with the catch-phrase: “Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away.”

Great stuff, the best slide film ever, IMHO, and the film of National Geographic. None of the E-6 process films — Ektachrome, Fujichrome, Agfachrome — had that wonderful Kodachrome look.

Great song, too. Enjoy.

[YouTube link]

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, Oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

— Paul Simon

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Esquire’s movies every man should see

Posted by Richard on May 23, 2009

Catching up on Instapundit, I noticed that Esquire has a list of "75 Movies Every Man Should See." Here's a link directly to the PDF that doesn't make you go to the Amazon site first (jeez, Glenn). There are lots of decent movies there, but I noticed one glaring omission that discredits the list completely. 

They do not include Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch. That's unforgivable. How can you compile a list of "men's movies" that includes Runaway Train and ignores The Wild Bunch?!?

The Wild Bunch is a much better film than Peckinpah's Straw Dogs (included in the list) or just about anything else in the list. In fact, it's not just a great "men's film," it's one of the half-dozen best films of all time. Arguably, the best film ever made.

If you haven't seen it, whatever your gender, you really need to do so.

William Holden. Ernest Borgnine. Robert Ryan. Edmond O'Brian. Warren Oates. By far, the most innovative cinematography of its time (1969), and a film that holds up remarkably well today. In fact, it hasn't aged a bit.

Pike Bishop (Bill Holden): When you side with a man, you stay with him! And if you can't do that, you're like some kind of animal! 

I've seen The Wild Bunch at least half a dozen times, but it's been many years. Just thinking about it makes me want to watch it again. So I think I will. You should too.

That's not the only thing wrong with this list (although it's the most egregious omission). Where's Braveheart? Where's The Shootist? Where's Vertigo? Where's Treasure of Sierra Madre? How can they list The Road Warrior and not Mad Max??

Oh, well, I guess these kinds of reactions to such lists are inevitable — and are probably what the creators of the list are hoping for.

Still — how the hell can you overlook The Wild Bunch?? It's just unforgivable!!

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2081 set to premier

Posted by Richard on May 14, 2009

Last August, I posted about 2081: Everyone Will Finally Be Equal, the theatrical short film based on Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron. According to producer Thor Halvorrsen and director Chandler Tuttle (via email), it's finally coming out:

Many of you have written to us over the past few weeks and months asking when 2081 would be released in theaters or made available on DVD, and I am thrilled to say that we finally have an answer: 2081 has been accepted to the Seattle International Film Festival and will be premiering on Friday, May 29th as part of the Shorts Program's opening night festivities:

2081 World Premiere
Seattle International Film Festival
ShortsFest Opening Night

Friday May 29th, 7pm

SIFF Cinema
321 Mercer Street
Seattle, WA

If you're going to be in Seattle, you can get tickets at the SIFF website. The rest of us will probably have to wait until October, when it becomes available via DVD and download. Watch the trailer at the 2081 website and if you're interested, sign up for email updates.

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The eclipse of the old

Posted by Richard on November 15, 2008

The Manhattan Institute's John McWhorter thinks the election of Obama will have some good consequences for black America, especially in terms of "the eclipse of the old." First and foremost (emphasis in original):

The studious black teen will no longer be tarred as "thinking he's white."

For decades, there have been innumerable reports of black students faced with a choice between hitting the books and having black friends.

From now on, however, there is a ready riposte to being tarred as "acting white" for liking school: "Is Barack Obama white?"

God, I hope he's right. I foresee lots of bad consequences from the election of Obama, but this one would be a huge positive. Not just for black Americans, but for all of us.

I hope McWhorter's other two predictions are correct, too. Read the whole thing

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George Clinton!

Posted by Richard on September 17, 2008

Wow, what a great surprise! A blue-haired George Clinton, as freaky as ever, was the musical guest on the Tonight Show tonight. With a terrific band he's calling The Gangsters of Love All-Stars (I think it's most of the current P-Funk crew plus whoever was hanging around and looking sharp). Great guitar work by Blackbyrd.

Ain't That Peculiar!

If you missed it, maybe when they update the Tonight Show website, it'll be one of the featured videos. Or you can see the full show (when it becomes available) here. Clinton closed the show.

You youngsters who have no idea what I'm talking about don't know what you're missing. Check out some of the Clinton "diskography" here (Flash player required) or poke around at Amazon. (UPDATE: The new album was released just yesterday. Sounds great — check it out!)

The last time I saw George Clinton was also on the Tonight Show back in 2005. Go read my post about that for some history and background info. It's got some other links you might want to check out.

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LIttle Anthony and the Imperials

Posted by Richard on August 27, 2008

So, I'm in the office on the computer, and David Letterman's on the TV in the living room. I'm not really paying attention, but suddenly I hear him introduce his musical guests, Little Anthony and the Imperials. I hit Ctrl+S, run for the living room, and crank up the volume!

They performed "Hurt So Bad." It was wonderful. Simply wonderful. All the heart and emotion and soul you could ask for. Shivers ran down my spine when "Little Anthony" Gourdine sang "like needles and pins." His voice was as great as ever — maybe better.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the group (the 50th!), and they sound (and look) amazing. There have been a number of personnel changes over the years (as detailed at the Wikipedia entry), but the group today includes three of the four members who created all those unforgettable hits in the 60s (along with Harold Jenkins, who was a member in the 70s). 

Check out the Little Anthony and the Imperials website. Not only are they still touring (nowhere near Denver, dammit), but they've just released a new album that includes new recordings of four of their big hits (including a terrific reinterpretation of "Going Out of My Head"), plus eight new songs. Check out samples at Amazon. Especially you youngsters who have no idea what great r&b/soul music sounds like. I'm buying it. 

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Posted by Richard on August 18, 2008

Harrison Bergeron is easily my favorite Kurt Vonnegut story, and I really liked the 1995 TV adaptation. Now, The Moving Picture Institute ("Promoting Freedom Through Film") is coming out with a theatrical short based on the story entitled 2081: Everyone Will Finally Be Equal. It looks and sounds terrific (the Kronos Quartet performs the original score). Here's the description:

Based on the short story Harrison Bergeron by celebrated author Kurt Vonnegut, 2081 depicts a dystopian future in which, thanks to the 212th Amendment to the Constitution and the unceasing vigilance of the United States Handicapper General, everyone is finally equal… The strong wear weights, the beautiful wear masks and the intelligent wear earpieces that fire off loud noises to keep them from taking unfair advantage of their brains. It is a poetic tale of triumph and tragedy about a broken family, a brutal government, and an act of defiance that changes everything.

Go to the 2081 website, watch the trailer, and sign up for email updates regarding screenings in your area.

Also, check out The Moving Picture Institute website and sign up for their email updates. Here's some background about the organization:

Founded in 2005 by human rights advocate Thor Halvorssen, the Moving Picture Institute is unlike any other foundation dedicated to promoting the ideal of liberty. At MPI, we believe that film, more effectively than any other medium, can bring the idea of freedom to life. In keeping with that belief, we are working to ensure that film becomes a center of genuinely democratic art in the coming years. Our goal is to guarantee that film's unique capacity to give shape to abstract principles—to make them move and breathe—is used to support and promote liberty. Toward that end, we fund films from development through post-production, support up-and-coming filmmakers, and serve as a high-level intern placement service.

Historically, the film industry has been largely unconcerned with developing a distinctive and nuanced portrait of deep-seated American values such as free speech, freedom of association, and the free enterprise system. Such values have been defined and defended almost exclusively in print and through oral argument. But as visual media become increasingly prevalent, we depend more heavily upon movies for our philosophical, moral, and social guidance. If the ideal of freedom is to endure—if it is to maintain its vitality and relevance in our society—it must find its way into film, our most vital, relevant, and far-reaching art form. Freedom must be seen to be believed.

MPI is going on my list of organizations to support. How about you?

(HT: Andrew Roth)

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Happy birthday, Mick!

Posted by Richard on July 26, 2008

Time waits for no one
And blue turns to grey
Soul survivor Mick Jagger
Turned 65 today

Wow. According to The Sun, Mick is now entitled to a free bus pass, free dental care and vision tests, free prescriptions, and a variety of other benefits, subsidies, and tax credits. Oh, and a state pension of £90 a week. It's nice that the British take such good care of their aging rockers in their twilight years.

Time may not be on his side, but Mick's in great shape and not ready to retire:

More than 40 years ago Mick was asked if he could picture himself at the age of 60 doing what he was doing in his 20s.

He replied: "Yeah, easily. Yeah." The question now must surely be whether he can carry the party on into his 70s.

Mick was quoted last October by the BBC explaining his determination to carry on.

He said: "I'm sure the Rolling Stones will do more things and more records and more tours. We've got no plans to stop any of that, really."

I have been lucky enough to see the Stones in action more than once.

Mick's energy, enthusiasm and agility make most of this generation of rockers – who are young enough to be his grandchildren – look lethargic in comparison.

He also has enough lead in his pencil to keep a model 20 years his junior smiling. 

(Yeah, that opening poetic masterpiece bit of doggerel is my very own creation. So if you want to use it, give me credit and a link.) 


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This day in history

Posted by Richard on July 14, 2008

If you listen to Little Steven's Underground Garage, you not only get to hear some really cool music (including the weekly "coolest song in the world"), but you also learn some interesting trivia. For instance, you probably know that July 14 is Bastille Day, but did you know it's also Harry Dean Stanton's birthday and the anniversary of the U.S. premier of Easy Rider?

So in honor of the day, take your Harley out for a ride (or your Vespa, if that's all you've got). Listen to Steppenwolf's Born to be Wild. Have a nice Beaujolais with dinner. And then watch Paris, Texas, Escape from New York, Alien, or just about any David Lynch film. (Remember, "the owls are not what they seem.")

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