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October 30, 2002

Carnival of the Vanities #6

I made a bouillabaisse tonight from some of the fish I brought home, though it lacked saffron...and I added rice. So what I really made was gumbo, except that it didn't have any okra. Okay, call it Mulligan Stew, see if I care.

Maybe I should just call it free-writing on the stovetop, and leave it at that. Most of the things I enjoy the most end up in the same basic category. I throw a bunch of things in the pot and turn up the heat. I pick out the bits I like later and call it a meal, or a blog post, or a relationship.

The wife doesn't particularly care for my stews, often peering into the pot or at the post with a wrinkled nose and asking in a slightly disapproving tone, "What is that?"

"That's jazz, baby," I inevitably reply. "Want some?"

And inevitably, baby don't want no jazz, which kinda lets the air out of the whole stew/jazz/melange metaphor. Baby don't like jazz, and baby don't care for metaphor. Baby is, after all, an accountant.

"Why can't you just say it's a bunch of leftover crap you threw in a pot?" is her objection.

I can't say that because that doesn't sound tasty. I can't say that because it implies that my contribution to the whole is unneeded and therefore unwanted. I can't say that because to do so would be to deny my creative nature.

I can't say that...because I added rice.

Have some jazz, dammit.

Asking The Carthaginians about Violence
The Road to Surfdom - Living With The Snipers - I was alerted to the sniper attacks by a guy at my wife's work who rang to tell me about it. "Someone is shooting people near where you live; it's all over the TV; maybe they've caught whoever did it; you shouldn't be concerned." At that moment I wasn't concerned; I was oblivious. Then I turned on the television to see what he was talking about, and three weeks later, I finally got to turn it off again.

Silent Running - Vlad The Impaler - He was a ruthless, sadistic, blood-soaked maniac, and would not have been terribly concerned about being described as such. Heck, he'd have probably grinned. Once, a delegation from the Sultan in Constantinople arrived for peace talks. When they refused to doff their turbans in his presence, he smiled and said in that case they can stay on...and had someone nail the turbans onto their skulls.

a small victory - Dear Susan Sarandon - You and your friends better start coming up with some viable alternatives besides making nice if you are going to continue your protests. I mean, rallying and marching is all well and good, but unless you have some kind of action and plan behind it (blaming the Republicans for everything does not count as a plan) then just shut your mouth, go home and take your hairy-armpit, placard wearing, thickheaded friends with you.

Bang Bang
Fragments ~ From Floyd - The Thrill of The Hunt - Reflecting back, there is only one clear memory of my father passing down the torch of knowledge, transmitting to me that one manual thing that he knew how to do, because his father never passed along anything to him but the butterbeans. I remember the day I learned everything he had to teach me. He summoned me down to our basement on the night of this memory. In a somber tone, he alluded to the fact that he would not always be around to handle male responsibilities such as this, and someday, I would be the man of the house. And, with ceremonial solemnity, he showed me how to relight the pilot on the furnace.

Citizen Net
Greeblie Blog - I Hate Popups! - I've never clicked on one of those pops, I'll never click on one of those evil things. Not even if I had crack crazed weasels feasting on my skull and the ad was for a crack weasel wrangler.

Furriners
Heretical Ideas - Goodbye Independent Chechnya - In fact, the PLO, IRA and the Chechens are textbook examples of how not to run an independence movement. The lessons to be learned by all would be secessionists from their actions are: don't target civilians, show yourself worthy of running a separate state, and try to gain the sympathy of majority of the population of the country you're seceding from.

Ipse Dixit - France Gave Iraq Biological Weapons - So they got anthrax spores from a US non-profit and from an internationally-recognized French research facility. Yet the homegrown blame-America-firsters who are so anxious for us to follow France's lead and ignore Saddam's depredations and the threat he represents never blame France for his bio-weapons program (nor, for that matter, do they mention France's strong financial ties with Saddam or the conflict of interest this creates. Funny, that).

Heart Strings and Hand Grenades
Sour Mash With A Twist - Death Of A Ringling Brothers Souvenir Flashlight - Eight years ago, my wife, then my girlfriend, took me to the circus. I have seldom had as much fun in my life.

It wasn't really the show itself, although it was quite something, I suppose. I can remember being quite pleased, emitting my fair share of "oohs" and "ahhs" and completely unabashed wild applause.

What can a fella do? Bob likes the circus.

a small victory - whose child is this? - In your mind, his life fast forwards and you see your child reaping all kinds of rewards; the honor student bumper sticker, the baseball MVP, valedictorian, employee of the month. Your mind only lets you see great things ahead for your child. You don't look into your baby's eyes and envision him growing up to be a terrorist, a murderer, a junkie.

I wonder about this as I watch the news and the cops surround a car, pulling out guns and barking orders. Someone's child is in that car. Sure, he's 41 years old now, but he is still someone's son. I imagine him as a baby, his mother cradling him in her arms, brushing his cheek with her finger and silently hoping that her son will have all the good things life has to offer.

Jack Handy Has a Posse
Philosoblog - The Melting Pot II - America was founded on liberty, but it's always had its conservative, traditionalist, virtue-pedantic side. The point of liberty is that it allows one to pursue happiness in the way most likely to yield it: the way one prefers. The problem is to determine the degree to which to constrain liberty in order to promote virtues and ways of life that are the best. For the values embraced by adults are mostly fixed. And some preferences are better suited to human nature than others. It is good for everyone to fulfill his preferences, for this is the only chance he has for happiness.

Media Bash
skippy the bush kangaroo - pinin' for the fjords? - ok, ok, you say, but after a year and a half hasn't the op-ed metaphor-stealing statute of limitations run out? perhaps. but gee whiz, it's not like mr. krugman would have had to go very far to find another, even better surreal british sketch comedy group metaphor to make his point:

Opiating The Masses
Shark Blog - Being Fair To Islam - I assure you that I have no ill-will against Islam in particular, and in fact, I am an equal-opportunity critic of senseless murder in the name of religion. So you just watch the next time a group of fanatical Buddhists, for example (and not to single anybody out), kill a bunch of innocent civilians in the hope of achieving Nirvana. You can bet your bottom Dalai that I will write something snide about the crime, e.g. "Religion of Enlightenment strikes again".

Poli Sci
Ravenwood's Universe - Mr. Ravenwood goes to Washington - I enjoy my privacy, and peeking over the walls of my compound might get you some buckshot in the face.

Dustbury.Com - Donkeys and Jackasses - Sometimes I think that if I were, oh, a transgendered African-American who writes antiwar tracts for The Nation and runs an abortion clinic on the side, I could probably get DNC chair Terry McAuliffe to drive me to work every day.

The Kitchen Cabinet - Environmental Fantasyland - Jack Dafoe, a junior at Yale College, does a serendipitous good job at addressing my point about the fantasy world of environmentalism where individuals could make a difference by doing small things.

See You On The Funny Pages
Clubbeaux - Exxon's Payphone - Well, it appears the serial sniper did use the pay phone at the West Broad Street Exxon station in Richmond to make a call, but was long gone by the time police arrived to take down two illegal Mexicans in their white van using the same phone. You have to understand Richmond to fully appreciate this, so I've enlisted local folksinger Arlo Lee Guthrie to explain...

IMAO - Usually It's the One with the Gun Who Gets to Ask the Questions - American Polltaker: I wish to ask you some questions about guns.

Frenchman: Ahh! Guns! Do not hurt me, American! Paris is yours!

Solonor's Ink Well - Earl Vickers: Supra-Genius - I was sitting at my desk today, mindlessly whacking Ichiro Suzuki upside the head, when I thought I'd see what other millionaire baseball players I could get to take out my frustrations upon.

Sour Mash With A Twist - Shirley Temple, Roy Rogers, And The Road To Oblivion - Everyone was drunk at our wedding. Even the kids. Maybe even especially the kids.

Amish Tech Support - War of the Worlds - The aliens invade, they head towards New York. Howard starts by getting them in the studio to show off their breasts. Martians, lacking mammalian characteristics and being egg-laying creatures, are confused by request. Howard further mocks them when they say they lack external genitalia. Only after vaporizing Robin they are all soundly repulsed by the antics of Fartman.

Working for the Man
Kalyr.com - Corporate Crud - Back in the Elder Days when Men were Men and beer was one-and-six a pint, "Human Resources" was called "Personnel", implying that employees were actually people, rather than numbers in a spreadsheet.

The Carnival of the Vanities is published every Wednesday at Silflay Hraka and Blog Critics. Information on how to join the Carnival is available here, and all are welcome.

Posted by Bigwig at October 30, 2002 12:00 AM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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