The Fox News version of The View.

The new show is called Outnumbered. Exactly the same as The View. Women talking over each other, allowing no one to get a word in edgewise.

Shows how wrong I can be about a prediction. (I predicted to my wife that given the lineup it could be Fox News’s smartest show.) Women who have intellect don’t understand the responsibility it entails. It’s just one more weapon in their arsenal. Smile, tits, legs, smarts. I think that’s the right order.

Pretty much fed up with all women but my wife. And Sarah. (I exaggerate for effect. Because I’m a blogger.)

Sad to say. But they’re all beauties, dontcha know.

Our host. Harris Faulkner.

Our host. Harris Faulkner.

Jedediah Bila. The smartest of the lot.

Jedediah Bila. The smartest of the lot.

Kirsten Powers. Glorious. Liberal.

Kirsten Powers. Glorious liberal.

Katie Pavlich. One of the last three investigative reporters in the country. The other two are also women.

Katie Pavlich. One of the last three investigative reporters in the country. The other two are also women.

Andrea Tantaros . The Greek. How can The View answer this?

Andrea Tantaros . The Greek. How can The View answer this?

Sandra Smith. Business network girl.

Sandra Smith. Business network girl.

Kimberly Guilfoyle. The Irish have no shame. I'll prove it in a second.

Kimberly Guilfoyle. The Irish have no shame. I’ll prove it in a second.

Yeah, today she looks like a vampire. But she’s one of those ‘former federal prosecutors’ all women are these days. Only she once looked like this.

Only Fox News can bring it like this.

Only Fox News can bring it like this.

So their opening show didn’t work out so well. It happens every day at noon. Maybe I’m being too hard on them. Not a big fan of female intellect. But you knew that going in. And you should know for a fact that my candidate for president is Sarah Palin.

And, rarely for me, I don’t care at all about her smile, tits, legs, et cetera. I do wish she would learn to lower her voice, That would be a huge plus. Just saying.

Defaulting to the Obvious, II

Yeah. The water boarding thing. Not as upsetting as progs would like it to be.

Yeah. The water boarding thing. Not as upsetting as progs would like it to be.

A year and a half out from the official horse race. Presidential handicapping.

Jeb. Boring RINO with more baggage than anyone could overcome.

Huckabee. Nobody wants an evangelistic corncob.

Rand Paul. This one makes me mad. Conservatives are supposed to be judges of character. Creepy. Adolescent in his foreign policy. I’d actually vote for Hillary first. Or, more likely, stay home. (Stop it! He’s the worst wrong turn we could make!)

Rick Perry. Two dumb presidents in a row. Don’t need a third.

Mike Pence. Probably a good man. But dull. Dull doesn’t work anymore.

Bobby Jindal. Make a decent president. Can’t be elected. Looks like Mole from Wind in the Willows.

Ted Cruz. Not his cycle. Too smart for his opposition, but also probably too smart for his own good.

Chris Christie. Fuggeddaboutit..

Others. Well, there is only one:

I am declaring today my candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

I know a lot of you think I’m too damaged as a politician to run. I would argue I’m the best to run. The Democrats and the left have already expended all their ammunition against me. They have questioned everything about me, including whether I’m the mother of my fifth child. War on women? I am the survivor. Still here.

I know I’m supposed to be inexperienced. Hillary Clinton is supposed to be experienced. She went to Wellesley and Yale Law School. She was the First Lady of Arkansas. Cool. She was the wife of the President of the United States. Cool. She tried out an early version of ObamaCare in congress, but nobody wanted it. She ran for president and lost. To the worst president we have ever had in the history of the nation. She was the Secretary of State and cannot name a single accomplishment in that office. Other than a million frequent flyer miles.

So you want her now because after throwing the dice and having lost on purely politically correct grounds, we have another PC opportunity — this time to elect a female president. Who should, somehow, be Hillary.

Time for some confessions. I didn’t go to any Ivy League universities. I’m not one of the ordained political class which knows it has the right to rule the rest of you. None of my fathers or uncles or grandfathers are ex-Presidents, senators or heirs of Standard Oil or U.S. Steel. None of my family went to Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. Sorry if I don’t feel at all sad about that. Actually, I’m proud. Ronald Reagan went to a place called Eureka College. He never got the memo that America was supposed to be run by the elite sons and daughters of the most expensive schools. Neither did I.

I’m just the only person in the race who has ever been on the ticket for the vice presidency of the United States. Do you imagine that’s not an experience? State to state, town to town, hearing what everybody has to say? Hillary did it as a candidate for the nomination. I did it as a candidate for the Vice Presidency. I was a governor. She was a First Lady, a do nothing senator — name one bill that has her name on it — and a do nothing Secretary of State — name one thing she accomplished more than the million miles she traveled other than the death of four Americans in Benghazi. We all know her famous ad about three in the morning. Where was she at three in the morning on that night? Where was Obama? No questions on those two points have EVER been answered.

Here’s what I’ve learned. The War on Women isn’t by Republicans. It’s by Democrats. I use contraception. I buy it for a few dollars a month. Since more attention has been focused on my female functions than any national candidate ever in history, permit me to tell you, I have never intended to be impregnated by every single instance of relations with my husband. I have five children. I am more invested in the future than Hillary will ever be.

Killing babies is what career politicians can stomach. Not what I can.

I know a lot of you have been taught I’m simple minded. Uneducated. Ignorant. A loose cannon. What we need now are professionals, right? Professionals. You elected Barack Obama president, who never governed anything and has spent six years proving he will never be able to govern anything. Professional?

Now many of you want Hillary, who has also never governed anything, and in the few positions she has held can claim no accomplishments. Professional? No.

I have been a governor. As well as a mayor. I sometimes value the latter more than the former. You hear what’s bothering people. It focuses you a lot.

I’m not running for president because it was always my destiny, my birthright. I’m running because I love my country. Because I love all of you. Because our nation is in dire peril. And I can do something about it.

Defaulting to the Obvious

I have queued up three titles: the Ascendancy of Women I, II, and III.

Short circuiting all that. Part I was supposed to be the sickly performance of Laura Ingraham on her talk radio show. Creature of the inside the beltway crowd. She dissed Charles Krauthammer by telling him he was flat-out wrong for disputing her theory that Jeb Bush would be the 2016 Republican nominee. Odd. You could actually hear him adjusting downward his appraisal of her intelligence.

Then (Part II) I was going to highlight Ingraham’s love-love interview with David Gregory’s wife, Clare Shipman (compound conflict of interest never mentioned), wherein Shipman asseverated that women lack confidence because they crayon inside the lines and never learn that taking risks is part of the success game. The worry wart of their brains is also bigger. Aw. Except that, contradictorily, as a woman you also have to learn to defy your kinder, better instincts and accept risk, because that’s what testosterone does for men. Like some drug that distorts appropriate perception. Especially in white men. Life would be better if women were in charge.

Why, no doubt, Ingraham said, “Does this mean we women are better?” Answer: “Yes. We have better values.”

The female advantage? Caution. Empathy. And, uh, rumination.

Excuse me. Rumination? Shipman said men in her studies show men don’t ruminate as much. Like Kant, Freud, Jung, Einstein, Buddha, and Jesus? Yeah we don’t talk as much. Some — not all of us — are thinking. Which women show few signs of doing except when men are watching.

Here’s the sad thing. Legal education is almost completely about crayons not being inside the lines. Why all truly great attorneys are on the defense, and all women are ‘former federal prosecutors.’ The many many women who now have law degrees can never understand male minds. Which are not about worrying, nurturing, or any of the other female virtues but piercing through to the infinite. Which has never interested women. Why women, who congratulate themselves endlessly on being superior, have no idea.

Why we’re not still in caves living hand to mouth. Why Stonehenge got built. Why the pyramids got built. According to Clare Shipman and Laura Ingraham, superior female nurturing would have resulted in more empathy, fewer wars, and the traditionally virtuous 30 year life span. Which would beat menopause, n’est-ce pas? And all those hot flashes.

If only men were better behaved…

Let my wife tell you about the superiority of women. She’ll set you straight. Women are the dude, man!

Best Wishes to Rush

The ongoing battle to hear.

The ongoing battle to hear.

Rush Limbaugh has been off the air for a week. Today he’s back. He got a second cochlear implant, this time in the other ear. He’s sunny and jovial as usual, but it’s a grim battle he’s been fighting for more than a dozen years, and there’s no guarantee he will win it.

He filled us in during his opening monologue. His deafness was caused by an immune disorder. His brain identified the cilia on which hearing depends as a disease to be exterminated. Thirteen years ago he went stone deaf and yet continued his show for months without being able to hear his own voice. Doctors assured him that eventually his speech would become that of a person born deaf, a detectable slur that would end his career. The profession saving answer was a cochlear implant in his left ear, which involves drilling into the skull, removing all the organs of hearing, and replacing them with a prosthetic that operates in a much more limited frequency than a natural ear can process. They left the right ear alone because an implant is irreversible, and maybe there would be a cure someday.

Two things. There will be no cure in his lifetime. And the first implant has been gradually deteriorating. So he had the remaining hearing organs in his brain drilled out and replaced. He’s in the studio today, swaddled in bandages like, as he says, “Claude Rains in The Invisible Man,” and the second implant hasn’t been turned on yet.

There’s a chance it won’t work at all. His right brain has been asleep with respect to processing sounds for 13 years. It might not wake up. No one knows whether it will or not.

I know his enemies will gloat and hope loudly and scatologically for the worst. I’m sure the prospect of a stentorian conservative broadcaster silenced in the end by the ironic sentence of deafness will be risible to the evil ones who consider themselves the arbiters of all things good. But everyone could learn from what Rush shared about the experience of becoming wholly deaf.

Rush explained what very few could. Nothing prepares you for absolute silence. You can imagine blindness by closing your eyes. You cannot imagine deafness. He relates, humorously, that old friends still whisper to him on the golf course, in the wrong ear, even though he cannot detect whispering in his prosthetic ear either. People, he laughs, simply cannot comprehend this kind of disability.

Almost clinically, he describes the nature of the hearing he has enjoyed for the past decade. Only memory makes it work at all. The sound that gets through to him is like a low-Watt AM radio station skipping from Idaho to your transistor set in the small hours of night, staticky, dim, and flat. He cannot recognize a melody without knowing the song first. His memory fills in the blanks in that case. Which means there can be no such thing as new music. Ever.

He cannot identify the location or origin of any sound. Unless he can relate the movement of a mouth with what his implant relays to him, he has no way of knowing who is speaking. And there is no conscious screening, dampening or heightening function. Have you ever heard a tape recording of a conference room meeting you attended? If so, you’d know better what it’s like. It’s incomprehensible, totally alien from your recollection of the event. Suddenly you hear chairs scraping, voices overlapping like a wall of background chatter, the clatter of coffee cups, the continuous ruffle of paper things, and individual voices sound like they come from the bottom of a well. The difference between the recording and your memory is your brain, which subtly turns down the volume on background noise and turns up the volume on the targets of your attention.

The prosthetic is the tape recorder. Unless Rush remembers the voice of the person he’s talking to, everyone “sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks.”

I won’t feel sorry for him. Because he refuses to feel sorry for himself. And if worse comes to worst, he will find some way to prevail.

But I do admire his candor, resolve, and extraordinary good humor in the face of this adversity. And what can only be described as bravery.

If you have online radio on your Internet device, look up this broadcast. At the least it’s educational. At best it’s inspirational.

The very best of luck to you, Rush Limbaugh. I hope you can all join me in that sentiment.

Denial is a river in Egypt, II

Two injured men. A grief that should be universal. Is it? No. Because universality itself has been hijacked by the pussy know it alls of the left.

Where were we? I’ve been putting this off because the right order is elusive. When everything is wrong, upside down, tragically ill, where do you start?

Arbitrarily, I suppose. How about with the idea mongers. They don’t think and they hate thought.

Harvard student Sandra Y.L. Korn recently proposed in The Harvard Crimson that academics should be stopped if their research is deemed oppressive. Arguing that “academic justice” should replace “academic freedom,” she writes: “If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?”

In other words, Korn would have the university cease to be a forum for open debate and free inquiry in the name of justice, as defined by mainstream liberal academia.

Unfortunately, this is already a reality in most universities across America, where academics and university administrators alike are trying, often successfully, to discredit and prohibit certain ideas and ways of thinking. Particularly in the humanities, many ideas are no longer considered legitimate, and debate over them is de facto non-existent. In order to delegitimize researchers who are out of line, academics brand them with one of several terms that have emerged from social science theory.

How can this be? Their morality is such that they don’t care. Victor Davis Hanson explains.

Why do our well-meaning elites so often worry about humanity in the abstract rather than the real effects of their cosmic ideologies on the majority? The dream of universal health coverage trumped the nightmare of millions of lives disrupted by the implementation of it. Noble lies, with emphatics like “Period!” were necessary to sell something that would hurt precisely those who were told that this was going to be good for them. A myriad of green mandates has led to California’s having the highest-priced gasoline and electricity in the continental United States, a fact that delights utopians in San Francisco and in the long run might help the rest of us, but right now ensures that the poor of the state’s vast, hot interior can scarcely afford to cool their homes or drive to work. Fresno on August 1, after all, is a bit warmer than Berkeley or Menlo Park.

In a word, liberal ideology so often proves more important than people. Noble theories about saving humanity offer exemption from worry about the immediate consequences for individual humans. In a personal sense, those who embrace progressive ideas expect to be excused from the ramifications of their schemes. For the elite who send their kids to prep schools and private academies, public charter schools for the poor are bad, given that they undermine the dream of progressive, union-run education that has turned into a nightmare for those forced to enroll in it.

Recently, pundit Margaret Carlson wrote an op-ed lamenting the fall of Lois Lerner, as if her decline were due to a McCarthyesque hit. But Lerner staged her own dishonest disclosure of impropriety. She set up a phony, preplanned question that might offer her a platform to contextualize her unethical behavior. Despite her protestations that the IRS’s violations all emanated from a rogue office in Ohio, Lerner or her colleagues were in contact with Democratic enablers at the House Oversight Committee and the Department of Justice to find ways to thwart conservative tax-exempt organizations before the 2012 election.

Lerner has sought to obfuscate her improper role at the IRS, pled the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination, and done a great deal of damage to the American notion that government agencies, especially in election years, must remain impartial. It is hard to think of anything that she has testified about that has proved accurate. In addition, Lerner caused hundreds of legitimate members of tax-exempt organizations misery by violating the rules of her own agency. In short, there is no scandal victim less sympathetic than the now-well-retired Lois Lerner, even if the damage she did to innocent others does not register on the liberal scale of sympathy. Apparently, since her politics of wishing to shut down right-wing groups is correct, her morality need not be. Had Carlson been the director of a liberal green group, and had it been denied tax-exempt status by a high-ranking conservative IRS bureaucrat right before the reelection of George W. Bush, and had that functionary been exposed as an ideologue who harmed the reputation of the IRS and took the Fifth Amendment, I doubt that Carlson would now be writing to express worry over his mounting legal fees.

These are profoundly stupid, callous, insulated and ignorant people. Inveterate lefty journalist Al Hunt (whom I despise at a visceral level whenever I see his smug face on TV) drove home the point in a recent column called Why Isn’t Obama’s Good News Getting across?

Here’s a bit of good news for nervous Democrats: President Barack Obama’s health-care law isn’t going to be the albatross many feared it would be in this year’s congressional elections. Enrollment has soared, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the program will cost less than initially projected and that premiums will rise only slightly this year.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid aren’t popping the Champagne, however. The economy could clobber Democrats in November. And the president continues to alternate between telling Americans how much better things are and deploring how many are being left behind.

Both statements are true, but that makes for a message that’s muddled, incoherent and too negative.

The Senate leadership and White House staff have started to meet each week to develop a coordinated economic message for the fall. They have a ways to go.

Politicians see the same poll numbers the news media does. In a recent Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, the sentiment about the economy showed no positive movement. A Bloomberg national survey last month indicated more pessimism than a year before about the economy, job growth and housing. A majority said they thought health-care costs were getting worse and gave Obama negative marks on health care and the economy.

Congressional Democrats find it especially frustrating that the president doesn’t make a strong and more compelling case for the improvements on his watch. On health care, it isn’t just that 8 million people have signed up for coverage under the law; health-care costs have been growing at the slowest pace in decades.

The Federal Reserve has forecast the economy will grow at a clip of about 3 percent this year, after five years of average growth of less than 2 percent after the financial crisis. Housing has climbed out of its slump, the energy industry is booming, the financial sector has recovered along with lending, and manufacturing is at least crawling, with a vibrant automobile industry.

Compared with the rest of the world, this is a great American comeback story. Europe is struggling; there are increasing worries about China. And Russia, despite its swagger, is an economic basket case, with a gross domestic product smaller than that of Brazil and about the same size as Italy’s.

Cool, Al. Everything’s great where you live. You’re blind but unfortunately not deaf and dumb. Too bad. MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry hasn’t your talent for swallowing your tongue when making ludicrous statements. We get all neck-swaying Oprah telling folks to get used to paying more for their ‘crappy plans.’ A rare moment of honesty.

Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies. Which brings us to Global Warming. Progressives are convinced the cause is being submarined by nefarious enterprises.

John Kerry says climate change is the most important issue facing the Secretary of State. Yesterday or so was Earth day. It certainly got left wing Salon Magazine excited.

In the run-up to Earth Day this year, two major reports were released by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the largest such body in the world. On March 31, Working Group II released its report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, and on April 13, Working Group III released its report, Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Both reports cited substantially more evidence of substantially more global warming and related impacts than past reports have, and they did so more lucidly than in past iterations.

As climate scientist and communicator Katharine Hayhoe told Salon, “This time around, to its credit, the IPCC has gotten a lot more serious about improving its ability to communicate the report’s message, through graphics and other ancillary products.” There was also a greater sophistication in how to conceptualize, measure and compare things, even where substantial uncertainties are involved. And there was a substantial list of more than 90 major impacts already recorded on every part of the planet.

Yet, one of the most disturbing stories to emerge around the reports was the New York Times report that language about the need for $100 billion in crisis funds to aid poor nations was removed from the Working Group III executive summary for policymakers during the final round of editing. The action neatly encapsulated the yawning gap between the growing danger of climate change — and growing maturity of climate scientists — on the one hand, and the utter lack of political will on the other.

Arrogance. Humanities majors stomping on scientists who don’t share their political views. Oh? How about an alternative political view or two of Earth Day?

1. There has been no temperature trend over the last 15 years; the actual record has belied the predictions of the models. The past two years have set a record for the fewest tornadoes ever for a similar period, and there has been no trend in the frequency of strong (F3 to F5) tornadoes in the United States since 1950. The number of wildfires is in a long-term decline. It has been eight years since a Category 3 or higher hurricane landed on a U.S. coast; that long a period devoid of an intense hurricane landfall has not been observed since 1900. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was the least active in 40 years, with zero major hurricanes. There has been no trend in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones, and tropical cyclone energy is near its lowest level since reliable measurements began by satellite in the 1970s. There has been no change in the long-term trend in sea level. The record of changes in the size of the Arctic ice cover is far more ambiguous than often asserted, because the satellite measurements began at the outset of the warming period from roughly 1980 through 1998. The Palmer Drought Severity Index shows no trend since 1895. Flooding in the United States over the last century has not been correlated with increases in greenhouse-gas concentrations. What systematic evidence supports the assertion that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) are causing significant adverse effects?

And, finally, Egypt. Back to our title… on the Nile

Fucked there too, eh? Congratulations, morons.

Should do better. If you can. But I use computers too, as you all know.

Don't know who he is. Raebert howled. An image in the mirror in my wife's closet . He wagged a finger at me and evaporated. I blame it on Mucinex.

Don’t know who he is. Raebert howled. An image in the mirror in my wife’s closet . He wagged one stern finger at me and evaporated. I blame it on Mucinex.

Raebert subsequently claimed abuse. A boot in his face.

Only problem. He never moved. Nobody hurts Raebert without a response. Something caressed him. Something like consciousness. Catch it if you can.

Only problem. He never moved. Nobody hurts Raebert without a response. Something caressed him. Something like consciousness. Catch it if you can.

Consciousness is the first thing progressives gave away. Raebert can get his back, as soon as he wakes up. The human versions, not much hope. Why I’m still Josey.

Denial is a river in Egypt

The Outlaw Josey Wales promo from Storylabs on Vimeo.

Have to admit, I’m looking a lot like Josey Wales at the moment. Beard and hair, for sure, and I have the hat, except it’s black. Feeling a lot like him, too. Pissed off.

Sometimes it's time to get mean.

Sometimes it’s time to get mean.

Why would a rebel keep running, keep fighting? No, I’m not a confederate. No stars and bars on my flagpole. I’m just tired of the Gatling guns of the federal government.

Actually, I’m not talking guns in particular. Not all that interested in the Bundy Ranch standoff. Been there, done that with Waco and Ruby Ridge. Militias against trained federal troops, SWAT teams and the like? That’s a game for people who are just tired of living.

I’m talking about the real Gatling guns. The ones aimed at our minds.

Not that I expect you to see it or react beyond a tut tut. I’m in a Josey Wales frame of mind, which is outside yours, way outside, not judging because you’re trying to hold it all together while the center is dissolving. The Josey thing is knowing and seeing how it all works. Bad men on the loose.

Can I take on four or five at a time? Yes. But that still won’t turn the tide. Here’s what they’ve done and are doing to you: lying so constantly you’re inured to it; accusing you of racism, sexism, etc, so constantly you half believe it’s you not them at fault; acting so superior, so dismissive of your right to disagree about nonsense like global warming that you grow too tired to say, “Oh fuck off;” driving so hard to make your religion seem a perverted, genocidal offense against native human rights and dignity that you just turn away; declaring, declaiming that your opposition to abortion is not only evil but also possibly a fatal embarrassment to the cause of Conservatives everywhere; hectoring and hammering you about life and marriage and day after pills to the point that you feel you’re in the minority, and a shrinking minority at that, when the opposite is true; insisting, strenuously, against all the evidence, that Islam is a religion of peace that poses no threat to you, when you know deep down that Islam is a sickness, all of it and all of them, a machine for creating automatons and murderous states that slaughter their own women as well as any who believe differently. Are you too busy to get as mad as Josey?

All you really have to do is say, “No!” And mean it. Everything they believe is wrong. Every ideal they hold is corrupt.

Time for a metaphor switch. Josey was never in the kind of danger you are. He’d already lost everything. He could afford to walk into ridiculous odds. You need to be finding your inner Neo. The one who can perceive the Matrix and say, “No.”

btw, for all of you tempted to jeer at Keanu Reeves, match this for incentive in a role.

Yes, I’m Josey. Know how to shoot. Far more more important to know how to stop the bullets. Doesn’t matter if they kill me. Much more vital that they lose the power to kill all of you.

Time to explain my title. It’s a joke within a joke. Yes, ‘Da Nile’ is a river. It’s a river they have worshipped, devoted themselves to, promised every necessary sacrifice to. But they, like the ancient Egyptians they so resemble in their rigidity and lack of individuality and perspicacity, got the geography wrong. Completely. Didn’t you know? The Egyptians called the Upper Nile the Lower Nile and vice versa. They had the whole world upside down. Didn’t see it. What we call denial.

I have a dozen or more articles I’ll provide links to and quotes from, tomorrow. You’ll see. Sanctimonious priests of themselves as they are, they have everything upside down, in the face of proof to the contrary. That’s me, Josey, shooting. But you’ve got to become Neo, making their bullets drop helplessly to the floor.

Now to bed. That old Indian is trying to sneak up on me again. And you, look out for Agent Smith.

Robert Benchley and Me

image (If you click on the text, it will get bigger.)

Told you I just got my Hal 9000 iPad. One more today. I’ve written about Robert Benchley before, perhaps too dismissively. He had a self deprecating style of humor that seems oddly piercing today, when everyone pretends to know everything and nobody knows much of anything.

He belonged to the famous Algonquin Round Table, a 1920s cabal of New York writers, critics, and performers who were as talented as, and definitely more witty and scandalous than, the Rat Pack of the Sinatra generation. Names still remembered include New Yorker editor Harold Ross, Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woolcott, playwrights George Kauffman, Robert Sherwood, Donald Ogden Stewart, and Marc Connolly, notorious actress Tallulah Bankhead, Harpo Marx, novelist Edna Ferber, et cetera. The first time I went to New York as an adult I walked to the Algonquin and had a drink in the bar. I wanted to feel them sparking. But it was a small sad place after all. All I could feel was them drinking. So I remembered the first one I knew of. Him I could feel. Of them all, Robert Benchley was the good guy.

The Algonquin crowd would have chewed up and spit out the pretenders who publish the New York Times today, as well as what’s left of the New Yorker and other Big Apple publications. They could outdrink everybody, outcurse everybody, outshock, outtalk, and outwrite everybody on the scene today. Mostly, now, I wouldn’t want to meet them. But I would love to see the takedowns. They would be stupendous, memorable, brutal, like Hemingway’s killing of the bull. And then I’d like to sit in the corner and talk about piffle with the nice one.

It’s said the funniest moment ever on Johnny Carson’s 1960s Tonight Show (look it up) was when diminutive comedian George Gobel appeared late, preceded by multiple superstars, and said, “Did you ever feel like everybody else was a tuxedo and you were a brown shoe?” That was Benchley.

Why I thought of the piece above. Sometimes there are simple truths that put us all in our place. Or should. Benchley’s essay “Mind’s Eye Trouble,” excerpted above, is one of those. He admits that his own imagination of great dramas, great things in general, is hostage to a handful of reliable images from his youth.

He speaks of Worcester, Massachusetts. I can speak of Greenwich, New Jersey, in whose backwoods I fought the battles of the Revolution and the Civil War, and much of the secret agent Cold War, with an air-pump popgun and later with a .38 caliber snub nose in a Mattel shoulder holster. The caps sounded convincing in the echo of a viney and tree-laden creek valley that could have been Saratoga, the Wilderness, or the Black Forest. Still, despite my subsequent travels, what I think of first.

Then there was Mercersburg. Brutus and Marc Antony spoke over the dead body of Julius Caesar on the white steps of Main Hall, just three blocks from Jack’s drugstore and the best hot ham hoagies you’ve ever had. Yes, I’ve been to Italy since and the memories overlap, but one place they never will is in the realm of distance measurement.

When I think of a hundred yards, or even a mile, to this day, as old as I am, I am immediately returned to the varsity football field of Mercersburg. I am standing in front of the home scoreboard staring at the opposite goalposts. I can see exactly what a hundred yards looks like. And because what lies beyond that goalpost is rolling open country, I can also see and feel what a mile is.

Benchley was right. We are all imaginationally catalyzed and limited in this way to some degree. Experience is supposed to break us free of what are clearly childish inventions of times and events we did not, could not have witnessed.

I think I can prove we never transcend these elementary touchstones, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves we have. I won’t take a lot of time doing this. In the past year I have had three apocalyptic dreams. One about the arrival of a gigantic spaceship, sinister and overwhelming. One about the detonation of a thermonuclear device. And one about the disintegration of the back half of a town to flakes of rust. In each of these dreams, the apocalypse occurred in the same place — the intersection of Grant and Market Streets in my home town. In each case I was stopped for the light. On the left was Jang’s Dry Cleaners. On the right was St. John’s Parish House. Then it happened.

This picture is the best I can do. It’s from the Internet and not the complete vista. I’d wanted to do a pic myself but I’m just back from a bad couple days and the Hal 9000 is insisting I go with what I have.

Twin it. Looks this way on both sides. Alley of bricks and trees and endless sky beyond.

Twin it. Looks this way on both sides. Alley of bricks and trees and endless sky beyond.

Hal is insisting because this post is a foundation for a much more difficult and demanding one I’ll have to do tomorrow. It’s about how we have to start understanding the brilliant nitwits who want to put us in a gulag.

Maybe Robert Benchley wasn’t quite the lightweight he always pretended to be. Amazingly, the whole text of his “best” as collected by his son Nathaniel (not to be confused with his grandson Peter Benchley of Jaws fame) can be found here. He died at 56. He was a lot nicer than me. Hemingway was 62. I guess nice has nothing to do with it.

See you tomorrow.

The Transparency of the New Media

Tried to register a HELPFUL complaint at Hotair.

Couldn’t be done:


The topic choice buttons did not work, including the missing ones that should have said I have an idea you should pursue (uh, like a TIP) OR I have a problem with things you do, and the final submit button… Nada. Thank you, Ed Morrissey, who has lately taken to offering us scriptural homilies on Sundays(?!).

My question to the readers of Hotair and Breitbart and other conservative so-called New Media sites. Have you ever had any luck getting an answer to a sincere, honestly asked question?

Let me know. Maybe InstaPunk so poisoned the waters for me that I am on a universal blacklist. But I don’t believe that. What I believe is that all the pundits and neopundits and quasi-celebrities and would-be media celebrities don’t want to hear from the rest of us at all.

Two items of data. Hotair opens its comment registration once or twice a year for about ten minutes, then announces with startling finality that it’s closed. Like a big fisherman’s net designed to capture the best. But if you read their comments, the Hotair principals never participate, and when you look at the content there’s no reason they should. Cheap shots, inventive ways of smuggling in obscenities, and a penchant for getting caught up in idiotic irrelevant side arguments that has to be seen to be believed. They don’t want us because they agree with the liberals; we are dumbasses with nothing to say.

Second datum. Erick Erickson substituted for Limbaugh today. In the first half hour he told us TWICE how much he liked James Carville personally. Because he hobnobbed with him at CNN. He used the same punchline twice in the half hour. “The only things I agree with him about are Mary Matalin, LSU, and (I forget) crawfish.” He wants us to know he knows what’s going on and how things really work among the smart and connected people.

More prosaically — not a datum but an old annoying triviatum — I have not been able to figure out in well over two years how to get through to anybody at Breitbart my willingness to volunteer copy editing services. The whole enterprise is riddled with incoherent (WTF) headlines, broken sentences, embarrassing misspellings, and five kinds of other proof that liberal journalism has every right to look down on New Media. But try to find a personal email address that works or earns a response.

Try. I’d like to hear a success story. Even this new medium is being gradually stolen from us.

If you get through to them, please ask what differentiates their idea of transparency from Obama’s. And if they care.

Inspector Morse

Lady Laird likes him. I've been struggling for a correlative...

Lady Laird likes him. I’ve been struggling for a correlative…

Sorry if I was late approving comments over the Easter weekend. It was good and bad for us. Lady Laird was ill on Saturday and come Sunday I had what she had. Put me right out of the picture. A great time was had by all but me, though I did get to hear the kids laughing in the yard.

Good news is this. I am now in possession of my iPad model Hal 9000, which is guaranteed to make me smartester, insightier, and more intellectuallyier (came across that word for the first time at Hotair yesterday.)

So I have a pent up bunch of posts. But I’m posting this one first. Because we’re watching another episode of Inspector Morse.

Know him? He has mysteries as long as the Midsomer Murders, with nearly as many casualties, as British justice works its way relentlessly to the truth. The hook is that it takes place at Oxford, the town containing the famous university Inspector Morse got “sent down” (i.e., expelled) from before he got so old and, uh, sad looking.

The Brits loved it for years. Lady Laird loves it. What’s wrong with me?

I dunno. He’s such a hangdog. Hornier than he ought to be for a guy who’s never been loved, meaner than he ought to be to his faithful working dog sergeant, who looks exactly like this:

Sergeant Lewis

Sergeant Lewis

What annoys me most, I guess, is that he’s a domineering failed toff, a cop who sees himself as an Oxford Don and is therefore neither aristocratic wolfhound nor tail-wagging English Sheepdog but a grumpy, unkempt mongrel.

The corners of his mouth are always turned down. He's too good for his inferiors -- and his betters.

The corners of his mouth are always turned down. He’s too good for his inferiors — and his betters.

He’s as good a detective as it’s possible to be when you start panting for every bitch in the case and never land one. He never discovers they’re guilty, till the last moment or later, when one or two extra people have been killed. But he gruffs and growls and curls up in his bed with opera recordings and ale that’s hardly ever good enough for his palate.

I think Lady Laird likes him because he loves Wagner. I consent to watch because he has this car, wildly out of date even in this somewhat older TV series.

So. He can't be all bad.

So. He can’t be all bad.

Also gives me my only non-canine correlative; he’s Jeremy Clarkson without the sense of humor.

By all means, watch. We still have some too many episodes to go ourselves.

Not interested in English crap. My royal coat is matted and untended. While they watch this daft bilge on Netflix.

Not interested in English crap. My royal coat is matted and untended. While they watch this daft bilge on Netflix. They wonder why I groan at night and shriek in the morning.