Category: Miscellany

Words To Live By

“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.” – Johnny Carson


Technical question

I’m appealing to my techno-savvy readers here.
When I open a new window in IE, all it opens is the top title bar. I must “maximise” it in order to see the window itself. “Restoring” only reduces it to the title bar again.
How to fix? First helpful answer gets a big cyber-hug.


I didn’t know that there was a class-action settlement against cosmetics manufacturers who conspired to price-fix. It appears that anyone who bought cosmetics in the last ten years from Estee Lauder, Chanel, Clarins or Givenchy (and that includes dozens of affiliated brands, as listed in the document linked above) is eligible for a freebie worth between $18 and $25.
Ladies, go sign up! (Gents as well, the brands include Aramis and Tommy Hilfiger).

Back on with their heads

*Spanish Catholic officials, not heretofore known for their sensitivity and tolerance of heathens, have made a 180-degree about face, and have instructed the shrine of Santiago de Compostela to relocate a statue of the eponymous saint chopping the noggin off a Muslim.
Of course, the powers-that-be are at haste to explain that it’s been a long time coming, and has nothing to do with any train bombings or anything like that.
“This is not an opportunistic decision. This is not through fear of fanatics of any kind and nothing to do with 11 March or 11 September.” Right.
*A very funny and informative interview with Christopher (Lord) Guest in the Grauniad. A few months old but still very worth a read.
*Mark Steyn hilariously shreds Tim Robbins’ rather gauche attempt at current-events satire:
Hitherto, I’ve been reluctant to subscribe to the theory that humor is inherently conservative. I confess there are even moments of Michael Moore’s crockumentaries I’ve found myself laughing at. The film-maker has a comic’s eye for the telling detail and, even if half the telling details are phony, he at least has an eye for the kind of telling detail to make up. But much of what else purports to be left-wing wit so confirms the stereotype of the plonkingly humorless bien pensant that it can only be the work of some savage right-wing satirist. Take Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo, the two stars of the new Air America “network.” The network’s inauguration received a ton of fawning publicity from “The Today Show” and the rest of the A-list plug circuit, even though it can’t be heard in 99 percent of the country and in the remaining 1 percent of the fruited plain you can only pick it up on half-a-dozen shoestring stations where it’s displaced various ethnic programming and thereby prompted huge complaints, by members of the Asian-American community, the Caribbean-American community and others, that they’re being disenfranchised, their voices are being silenced, etc., in order to make way for rich white celebrities. If the Air America launch isn’t the plot for some forthcoming side-splitting off-Broadway satire, it ought to be.
*Colby Cosh’s site is bursting at the seams with great content. Start at the top and scroll down.

Let’s put this into context

Today I ran across a story about a wax museum in Berlin that is bowing to pressure and getting rid of its wax effigy of Adolf Hitler. Somehow it’s supposed to be bad taste to have an exhibit featuring likenesses of Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and the guy they beat. Evidently many Germans are paranoid that any image of Hitler will inspire neo-Nazis. (But they’re not worried about the Stalin mannequin inspiring neo-Communists.)
This illustrates a much broader problem: the inability of many to discern context. An image of Hitler in a room with his adversaries doesn’t mean the same thing as a portrait of Hitler wearing shining plate armor and riding a stallion. One identifies him as one of the pivotal figures of WWII, while the other romanticizes him. Guess which image the neo-Nazis would prefer…
One major subject that often gets taken out of context is violence. Every now and then we hear about some idiotarian who wants to ban dodgeball or some other children’s sport, equating rough-and-tumble play with assault. Here’s the difference: contact sports do not necessitate animosity for the opponent; assault does. And virtually no such sports require intended injury to the opponent. Boxing is perhaps the only exception; in this case there are severe limits as to what sort of injury is allowed, and permanent damage is taboo. Sure, sports has its share of thugs, but the Mike Tysons of the world pervert the spirit of the game.
Films bring out another misunderstanding over violence. People are often accused of hypocrisy because they condemn one movie for violence but not another. Movie violence appeals to different audiences: those who seek to empathize with the suffering character (Schindler’s List, The Passion of the Christ); those entertained by shock value (slasher films); those entertained by gory special effects (slasher films); those entertained by people duking it out (action films); those entertained not by the on-screen conflict itself but its resolution, and who want the conflict portrayed realistically (Westerns) or semi-realistically (James Bond).