Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Always Expect the Worst

James May, president of the Air Transport Association is speaking of modern search and seizure at our airports. But it seems to apply to this current administration especially well:

“Always expect the worst,” he said. That way, “you’ll be pleased when you have a great experience.”

But they do so excel at lowering expectations, don't they?

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Definition of Optimism

via The Straight Dope:

Regarding Transcendental Meditation:

The contestants weren't continuously airborne; rather, they proceeded by a series of hops--all this, mind you, in full lotus, the familiar yogic sitting position.

A skeptic might say it's ridiculous to call hopping levitation, but Thom says it's merely the first stage of a three-stage process. Stage two, which apparently no one has achieved yet, is hovering, and stage three is full-scale flying.

Monday, November 19, 2007

(Iraq) War in 100 words or less

Matthew Baldwin on Catch-22 by Heller:

Yossarian is shaping up to be a pretty great antihero. Craven, carnal, self-absorbed, and downright dangerous at times, he often reflects on and epitomizes the ridiculousness of the war. The central problem, of course, is that every character is looking out for himself alone, and therefore butting heads with all the other vain and self-serving characters strewn throughout the book. By getting us to sympathize with one, Heller demonstrates that, individually, everyone is acting sanely, insofar as their only aim to to advance their own interests. It's only when you look at the "Big Picture" that you see that the whole is much, much less than the sum of its parts--a bunch of rational actors to collectively make up the enormous clusterfuck of war..

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Columnists Current Role

"You're misunderstanding the role of the [NYT] columnists. You think that they are supposed to inform and provoke. They do that occasionally, but their main role is to comfort and confirm people in their prejudices - by helping readers fit the news into pre-existing narratives. Repetition and familiarity are more important than interesting ideas. Think of the op-ed page as the comics without pictures,"

Commenter at MatthewYglesias