Likelihood of Success

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Archive for the ‘Sisyphus’ Category

Flat-footed spam comment of the day

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 16, 2008

You have to love it:

A new comment on the post #848 “Likelihood of Success” is waiting for your approval
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Comment:
Nice articles here. Should put more articles about white teeth and teeth whitening methods.

Posted in Blogophilia, Nuvo-Techno, Sisyphus | 4 Comments »

Maestro

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 16, 2008

Today is Beethoven’s birthday!  (Hat tip to Schroeder!)  I posted this piece on Dean’s World on October 6, 2006:

Tortured muse

Tortured muse

New York’s NPR affiliate, WNYC, had a powerful item on this morning about the piano concertos of Beethoven, which represent, I learned, a self-standing volume of the canon of classical music all their own. It is part of their Beethoven Festival. It was informative and evocative to say the least (regrettably, if there is a link to an online version of the program, I can’t find it).

What is it about Beethoven — the music, the man, the concept — that resonates so powerfully? The melodrama of the tortured genius fighting Fate itself to create the world’s most brilliant and innovative music, even as he loses the ability to hear it performed, is irresistable. I learned this morning that Beethoven was such a leading-edge pianist himself that the technical demands he made on the still-new technology of the pianoforte instrument, where he did most of his composing, dragged piano makers into a new era of quality and responsiveness. Beethoven used his piano sonatas as studies for his orchestral and chamber works, so he needed the piano to be able to “sing” and represent as complete a range of musical and vocal performance possible.

But the ringing irony of all remains the storyline too good for literature: The brilliant composer who at the end of his career could not hear the real-world realization of one of history’s most gifted muses. Beethoven, they say, did not work in the manner ascribed to Mozart, seemingly acting as God’s musical scribe, taking Divine dictation “effortlessly” (an absurd concept) like a musical Prometheus. Beethoven tore up his soul and tortured his heart — and those many of those around him — to bring his muse to life.

True, a genius hears, in his own world, more sound than even he can bring to life — sometimes all too much. And the world was in Beethoven’s time, and is now, full of true horror on a far more prosaic plane than his. But if we ever let our eyes wander heavenward, the thought of the artistic tragedy of Beethoven is sometimes just too much to contemplate.

Posted in Ars Longa, Heart and spirit, Sisyphus | 1 Comment »

Senator Caroline?

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 15, 2008

Ross Douthat:

Caroline Kennedy is no doubt more prepared – in terms of her base of knowledge about national politics, her comfort with the ways of Washington, etc. – to be a United States Senator than Sarah Palin was to be Vice President. But if you consider where the two women started and stack their subsequent accomplishments against one another, Palin’s Alaskan career is roughly six times more impressive than Kennedy’s years as a high-minded Manhattan socialite and custodian of her family’s good name.

Yeah but.

But … what?

The prospect of this appointment makes such a pathetic joke of democracy, much less the concept of meritocracy, that you wonder which governor should be more embarrassed:  the chief executive crook of Illinois running an all-but-open auction for a Senate appointment, or a weak, unelected caretaker governor of New York bidding for the favor of New York’s party and cultural elites in the hope that perhaps he’ll be allowed to “stay on”?

UPDATE: Similarish thoughts here, via here.

Posted in Narcissus Rex, Sisyphus | 3 Comments »

Now that’s a contract I’d like to draft

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 15, 2008

Hitting the wall.

Hitting the wall.

On an hourly basis, that is.  Jimmie does the heavy lifting:

No wonder our car makers can’t get their heads above water. They have a legal document, just for dealing with employees, that weighs 22 pounds and is nine inches thick. Have you read anything that was nine inches tall? I’ll help you out. This hardback copy of War and Peace is only 2.7 inches thick.

How on earth can we justify keeping this going?

Posted in Gelt, Sisyphus | Leave a Comment »

…. and I can barely afford it.

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 15, 2008

Um, by the way, why do you supposed there are so many hungry people in New Jersey that we’re all going to help?

Could it have to do with … this?  Hat tip to Inv. A. Desoda (via Dean’s World).

Posted in Gelt, Sisyphus | Leave a Comment »

Don’t fear the reaper

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 9, 2008

Above the Law regarding massive layoffs at the Reed Smith law firm:

“Redundancy consultation exercise?” You have to love the British use of the English language.

I have other reasons for loving things like this, but yeah, I love that, too.

Posted in Lex scripta, Sisyphus | Leave a Comment »

The enemy of my friend is… hmmm

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 7, 2008

Instapundit links to a chilling report that’s sure to set off even more confusion in left-wing faculty lounges than it is with hormones across the animal kingdom:

IT’S NOT JUST YOUR IMAGINATION: “The research – to be detailed tomorrow in the most

The importance of being organic

The importance of being organic

comprehensive report yet published – shows that a host of common chemicals is feminising males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people.”

The whole article is pretty stunning if the link between the chemicals and the emasculation phenomenon holds up.

Here’s the question, now:   How does a classical wacko lefty — not our normal liberal friends, okay, but the kinds of people who do street theater, comment on Daily Kos and that sort of thing — deal with the policy choices here?   Petrochemical and industrial chemical concerns?  Environmental effects of modern industry?  Threats to species?  All bad.

Men and the things that make them men?  Uh, also bad, and now, clearly, seen to be worse than ever!   Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the male of our species will disappear fast enough by this process to prevent damage to other ones by virtue of all that maleness that just can’t disappear fast enough.

Decisions, decisions.

Posted in Nuvo-Techno, Sisyphus | 5 Comments »

Tell us another!

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 2, 2008

Instapundit :

A TERRORISM SURVIVAL BUNDLE for Windows Mobile.

Gah!  Someone contemplating “survival” would rely on Windows?!

Posted in Nuvo-Techno, Sisyphus | Leave a Comment »

Reuters: Still no such thing as terrorists

Posted by Ron Coleman on November 27, 2008

I wondered if perhaps the Mumbai attacks were enough for Reuters “news service” to admit the existence of terrorism?

Here’s the article.  The answer:  Nope.  “Militants” all.  “Fighters.”

Because after all, if they’re merely killing you-know-whos … who’s to say?

Posted in Medialites, Sisyphus | Leave a Comment »

Hitting bottom, all right

Posted by Ron Coleman on November 25, 2008

Ara Rubyan:

My son has asked me on more than one occasion recently, “So what do we do now?” Usually, in that conversation, I start out apologizing to him for the mess my generation has left him to deal with. Which leads to him asking his question.

Say it ain’t so, Ara.  You apologize to your son?  On behalf of your entire generation?  Because it has left the future such a sticky, gooey mess?

It is stuff like this — and Ara is thoughtful, and insightful, and serious — that reminds me that even though I’m obviously not nearly rabidly oppositional enough about Barack Obama, I must really not be any kind of liberal at all.

Posted in Heart and spirit, Sisyphus, Style | 9 Comments »