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August 28, 2007


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Design Observer's Michael Bierut writes a lovely introduction to a charming designer, Charley Harper, some of whose work looks like a pop version of Paul Klee.

* Prairie populist Caleb Stegall likes Bill McKibben's eco-critiques a lot more than McKibbin's eco-solutions. Fun to see both Stegall and McKibben citing the German economist Wilhelm Ropke, a favorite of mine.

* The Best Sentence of the Day Award goes to Cowtown Pattie for this beauty: "Texas boys know that even a riled rattlesnake don't hold a light to a pissed-off woman who'd just had her personal space violated by a furry wild animal."

* James Kunstler takes time out from ridiculing chic architecture to praise a modest, handsome, and restrained effort by New Urbanist Milton Grenfell. Explore some other work by Grenfell and his partners here.

* Roissy thinks that today's young guys are becoming alarmingly unmanly.

* Here's a pretty amazing optical illusion.

* Yahmdallah enjoyed "Hot Fuzz."

* Elvis Costello wants to know. (Nick Lowe, who wrote the song, does his own version here.) Funny to think that E.C. was once a lean and hungry young dude, isn't it?

* OuterLife has an inspired idea about what to do with all that money he's been saving for his kids' college educations.

* Rats prefer refined sugar to cocaine.

* Charlton Griffin turns up a couple of beauties: a review of the worst cars ever designed -- I've owned two of them myself, can anyone top that? -- and an illustrated list of the top ten body-modified people. You ain't never seen such tattoos and piercings.

* Creative fun with type -- but be sure to close the office door first.

* Here's a clever remix of a classic.

* People who eat prepared-food dinners (instead of preparing dinner for themselves) aren't actually saving any time.

* Vince Keenan writes a hilarious appreciation of action star Steven Seagal.

* Perhaps men are actually good for a few things?

* Here's a hard-core libertarian -- ie., Mises Institute -- video view of the Fed. Does Mencius approve?

* Ginger Strand passes along some enlightening information and thoughts about the changing meaning of pets over the years. (Link thanks to Andrew Sullivan.)

* Dave Lull has discovered the Inappropriate Yoga Guy.

* Raymond Pert forwards along an important video bulletin about the immigration crisis.

* Tyler Cowen lists his favorite things Pennsylvanian. Pennsylvania really is an amazing state, isn't it?

* Here's that notorious 300 page AT&T/iPhone bill.

* Prairie Mary reports that the Indian reservation she lives on is developing a middle class.

* MBlowhard Rewind: I confess that I don't know what the hell's going on in a lot of modern poetry but I like some of it anyway.



posted by Michael at August 28, 2007


Tyler Cowen lists his favorite things Pennsylvanian. Pennsylvania really is an amazing state, isn't it?

But scrapple didn't make the list!

Posted by: Reid Farmer on August 28, 2007 6:22 PM

The Chevy Vega was my first car. Didn't really see the rust problem mentioned, but the clutch was ungodly heavy, and it was better to shift into first while you were still rolling to a stop -- otherwise you'd sit there grinding and grinding before it would pop in.

On the plus side: The car was cheap, and kinda cute (for the '70s!). My brother kept it running until a few years ago. Great "learning-to-drive" car -- everything that came after was a piece of cake!

Posted by: Steve on August 28, 2007 8:01 PM

That ugly car list is stupid. Half of the cars on it are denounced for unsafety, poor handling, rough ride, underpower - none of which affects _appearance_. It's also US- and 60s-70-centric: no Trabant, no 2CV, nothing earlier than the Edsel. Are there no ugly sports cars?

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on August 28, 2007 10:51 PM


"Join Elvis as he recounts the first 10 years of his career. Along the way, he talks of his childhood, musical influences, singing, songwriting, changing his name, recording, Nick Lowe, the Attractions, the hits, the misses, getting arrested and much more."

Posted by: Scott on August 28, 2007 10:55 PM

the image of Christ interests no one?

Posted by: playrink on August 29, 2007 12:04 AM

A piece that's much more mature than Roissy (doesn't take much doing, I suspect the guy is pretty young) on the subject of manliness:

Posted by: mq on August 29, 2007 1:18 AM

The Pacer, the Vega, and the Matador are certainly amusing classics!!! (The Matador in particular seems to have been poorly named---there is nothing stylish or rakish or quick or ostentatious about it at all. No real matador would ever drive it). Will MBlowhard admit to which two he owned?

But, while the Edsel's timing may have been bad, at least compared to the other entries---I didn't think it was that ugly. It was kind of snazzy compared to a '70's Chevette.

Posted by: annette on August 29, 2007 8:31 AM

I plan to going through the whole series of Inappropriate Yoga Guy videos.

These folks seem not to experience the dramatic loss of image clarity that I experience when I load video to YouTube. Anybody got any suggestions about how to format video to maintain image quality for You Tube?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 29, 2007 8:46 AM

playrink, I thought that was Charles Manson.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on August 29, 2007 9:12 AM

To me, the decline of Pennsylvania is manifested by one thing: when I drive into Pennsy from New York on I-81 the idiots who run the state have removed Pennsylvania: The Keystone State on their welcome sign and replaced it with, Pennsylvania: A State Of Independence. If that doesn't spell decline nothing does!

Posted by: ricpic on August 29, 2007 10:35 AM

I'm all for preparing fresh food, but it seems as though that study didn't look at clean-up time. I suspect that's where the real time savings is.

Re: Roissy, insecure much?

Posted by: BP on August 29, 2007 12:33 PM

Che Guevara? Is that you haunting my aspirations?

Posted by: playrink on August 29, 2007 1:44 PM

Hey mq, thanks for that link to the better article on manliness - it's damn good.

Posted by: yahmdallah on August 29, 2007 4:42 PM

yamdallah and mq:
haven't you ever read Lileks?
What this ex-MSNBC guy has written is just a pale shadow in comparison.
You should get out of your lefty sandbox more.

Posted by: Tatyana on August 29, 2007 5:33 PM

I like mq's linked article too, but I do wish lefty blogs would put more effort into cutting back on the adolescent put-downs ('Instaputz'? I mean, come on!) Someone bragging (as the essayist is) about his own manliness should be able to refrain from that kind of juvenile silliness.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 29, 2007 6:55 PM

OK, time for all you sensitive, quietly-confident-of-your-manliness types to have a group hug.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 29, 2007 7:03 PM

MB--Ew, that would be gay.

Posted by: BP on August 29, 2007 7:29 PM

Manliness is about having the balls to face the guy who's facing you down...physically, or not having that courage. All the rest's a sideshow and every guy out there knows what I'm talking about.

Posted by: ricpic on August 30, 2007 9:37 AM

Tatyana, uh, how did this suddenly become about being a leftie?

And I've read Lileks since way before he became the icon he is. I read him back when he could actually answer emails.

Posted by: yahmdallah on August 30, 2007 12:54 PM

Michael, perhaps the strangest thing about John Ashbery's poetry is that he's the Poet Laureate of MTV, and they've got a page with links to texts and video of several of his poems.

Posted by: Mike Snider on August 30, 2007 1:55 PM

I was once the proud owner of a UT orange and white (Hook 'em Horns!) hatchback Pinto.

Great little car, and perfect for a blonde 19 year-old Texas gal. It never gave me a minute's trouble.

Thanks for the linky love, Michael! It's a true story, for honest!

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on August 30, 2007 3:03 PM

let's see, how the words "leftie + sandbox" came to my mind...
talk about masculinity — especially conservatives, who seem to obsess about it, but in a peculiarly juvenile way [...]I enjoyed...mordant chortle the other day when Jane picked up, from Instaputz, something that Dr. Helen (the spouse of our old friend [ahem] Glenn Reynolds...Masculinity is one of those things where if you have to talk about it, you’re never going to get it. And the harder you try, the less a man you become[...]Being a real man[...]meant being a whole man.[...]foolish old notions of masculinity — the kind you get in half-baked reactionary books and articles]. Etc.
See, the word just popped-up, on its own.

If you have been reading Lileks regularly, the idea of stay-home Dad, raising a kid, doing home chores AND writing books (that are real fun books) AND working on a radio AND writing a regular paper column AND daily updating a 6-fold blog AND redesigning it constantly for readers' delight - all the time being a conservative (yes, the Reactionary the author above despises so much) - that idea wouldn't seem so novel to you.

Posted by: Tat on August 30, 2007 10:44 PM

Tat, I still think you've got me wrong. Love Lileks, love his books, etc. He da man. The stuff from "Firedoglake" (or whatever is name is) put out regarding some wingnuts - I just don't even notice it anymore because they're so extreme that they're too easy to mock. And I know you didn't write this, but I just chuckle when someone complains about a leftie using "adolescent put-downs" when the wingnuts have a whole industry and a news channel that does that 24/7. I liked what "Firedoglake" said about masculinity, and ignored the rest. Masculinity is beyond politics, and if anyone with a political bone to pick tries to claim their clique is more manly, they're being a priss. ;)

Posted by: yahmdallah on August 31, 2007 11:06 AM

well, if you mentally filter out all the political bashing present in the text - of course you would be surprised when someone who didn't, notices it. But that doesn't mean it wasn't there.

Masculinity is beyond politics : yes.

Posted by: Tat on September 1, 2007 1:27 PM

MB-"OK, time for all you sensitive, quietly-confident-of-your-manliness types to have a group hug."

I totally agree . lol .

Posted by: Swiss on September 11, 2007 12:01 PM

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