Civil Liberties

How Lou Reed Inspired Anti-Communist Revolutionaries and the Rest of Us


I think that's what Virginia Postrel calls

Since Lou Reed's influence was exponentially bigger, and his personality occasionally much smaller than, his music, it's worth remembering why the late Velvet Underground singer/songwriter was deservedly famous in the first place. Jesse Walker posts some of the evidence below, to which I would add that the span of decades has dulled us to how shocking and boundary-pushing much of his earliest and greatest work was in the context of his times.

The Velvet Underground & Nico, now universally hailed as a classic, dropped like an Improvised Explosive Device into the pop universe on March 12, 1967. The number-one song in the country at the time was The Supremes' formulaic "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone"; it would be supplanted the next week by the saccharine nostalgia of "Penny Lane." The album charts were in the middle of a seven-month run of chart-topping dominance by The Monkees. Rock music was inventive and dynamic, but at the top it was still largely performed by attractive twentysomethings laying melodic vocals over love songs performed by top studio musicians.

VU, on the other hand, went both low culture and low-fi:

As Nick Gillespie and I describe in The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America,

One of the only music magazines to take contemporary note of The Velvet Underground & Nico called it "a full-fledged attack on the ears and on the brain." Legendary Rolling Stone critic Lester Bangs in 1969 called the band a "bunch of junkiefaggot-sadomasochist-speed-freaks who roared their anger and their pain in storms of screaming feedback and words spat out like strings of epithets." And he liked them. The songs were about heroin, hitting your girlfriend, scoring drugs, and the pathos of planning for the next Manhattan party. The drummer was a girl (no normal occurrence in those days), who played standing up, with mallets. "The real question is what this music is about—smack, meth, deviate sex and drugdreams, or something deeper?" wondered Bangs. "The most important lesson [about] the Velvet Underground," he concluded, was "the power of the human soul to transcend its darker levels."

None of which would have held more popular interest than bad collegiate poetry if the songs hadn't been so catchy, even occasionally sweet. The first song off their debut album, "Sunday Morning," could almost be a children's lullaby if it wasn't for the nagging suspicion that the singer probably hadn't slept since Friday:

"Sunday Morning" was the favorite VU song of Jan Machá?ek, the longtime lead singer of the Czech Republic's Velvet Revival Band, unquestionably the greatest of all the world's VU cover bands (this despite Machá?ek's almost impenetrable accent in the late '80s and early '90s, in which he was more likely to sing "Hah-row-ween" than "Heroin"). Lou Reed's connection to the overthrow of communism, it turns out, was as indelible as it was accidental. The Velvet Revolution took its name in part from the Velvet Underground, and when Reed finally met Václav Havel in 1990, he was startled to hear one of the 20th century's great freedom fighters say, "Did you know that I am president because of you?"

The Plastic People of the Universe, at Vaclav Havel's rock & roll wake, in December 2011. ||| Matt Welch
Matt Welch

The Lou Reed connection to anti-communism is one of the world's greatest examples of art taking on an unexpected and liberating life of its own. It's a story told in Tom Stoppard's terrific play Rock 'n' Roll, and occasionally in the pages of Reason. Here's an edit of our version in the "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" chapter of The Declaration of Independents:

No one is exactly sure how a copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico found its way to Czechoslovakia before Soviet tanks crushed the cultural opening of the Prague Spring in August 1968. […]

Whatever the source, this influential piece of dissonant, drug-saturated, hyperurban yet occasionally gentle music, with the flat everyman vocals of Lou Reed alternating with the morose German female baritone of supermodel Nico, wound up in the hands of a teenage butcher's apprentice and budding rock bassist named Milan "Meijla" Hlavsa. "The Velvet Underground was something very different, very new, very real," Hlavsa recalled a quarter century later, "because their music was a part of their life. . . . It brought us America in a real way. It was good to see that in the States there were normal people who had problems like us." One month after the 1968 Soviet invasion, Hlavsa and some buddies started a band called the Plastic People of the Universe. Named after the song "Plastic People" by future Tipper Gore foil Frank Zappa (though perhaps also influenced by the Andy Warhol/Velvet Underground "Exploding Plastic Inevitable" multimedia extravaganzas that the band would go on to emulate), Plastic People was mostly a cover band at first, singing versions in heavily accented English of Zappa, the Doors, the Fugs, and the Velvets. "The base of our music was the Velvet Underground," Hlavsa said. […]

Havel and Hlavsa, after the good guys won. |||

Rock bands in Czechoslovakia required a license from the government, and in those days of communist "normalization," the Plastic People's was soon revoked. The band continued to play, but only at weddings (one of the few activities beyond the government's control) and at secret, one-time shows advertised through paranoid word of mouth. The Plastics acquired a Warholesque "artistic director," the crazed alcoholic imp Ivan Martin Jirous, and eventually replaced its English-language repertoire with a bunch of Czech originals derived from the poetry of various banned authors. The songs weren't political in any conventional sense, but when the state dictates culture, all unapproved acts become political, like it or not. […]

Forced underground by the censors, the Plastics and their followers christened their own artistic movement as "the underground" (in English), or druhá kultura ("second culture"). It was alternative before there was Alternative. As Hlavsa would tell an interviewer in 1997, "Our community, which was, probably imprecisely, referred to as 'underground,' was a pocket of normal life. . . . People with feelings similar to ours were coming to our concerts. Their music preferences were not necessarily similar, but music wasn't as important there as meeting people and being together in a normal environment for a while. I don't know if anything like that would be possible had the Plastic People of the Universe not existed then."

Lou Reed and Vaclav Havel. |||

By 1976, the regime could stand it no more. At a festival celebrating druhá kultura, four members of the Plastic People, along with many other festival attendees, were arrested on charges of disturbing the peace, no small offense in communist Czechoslovakia. It was a move that would not only backfire on communist authorities but help create source code for citizens of any lousy country to stand up to their oppressors. Dissent itself was about to be democratized, planting seeds that would eventually free hundreds of millions of people. Václav Havel, by this time, was not your typical rock 'n' roller. At age thirty-nine, this disheveled, chain-smoking playwright with the awkward stammer, son of one of the richest families in modern Czech history, spent much his time with his regal wife futzing about the garden of their vacation cottage outside of Prague, under the perpetual surveillance of the police. As an enthusiastic participant of the 1960s—"That was an extraordinarily interesting, fertile, and inspiring period, not only here, but in the culture of the entire world," he told an interviewer in 1975—Havel was a rock guy. He preferred the Stones to the Beatles and took from amplified music "a temperament, a nonconformist state of the spirit, an anti-establishment orientation, an aversion to philistines, and an interest in the wretched and humiliated," he would later write. This may help explain why, the year before, after more than a half decade of depressed indolence brought on by normalization and the experience of being banned in his own country, Havel had uncorked a piece of literary and political punk rock whose ramifications are still being felt.

Go read it if you haven't. |||

In April 1975, Havel sat down and, knowing that he'd likely be imprisoned for his efforts, wrote an open letter to his dictator, Gustáv Husák, explaining in fearless and painstaking detail just why and how totalitarianism was ruining Czechoslovakia. "So far," Havel scolded Husák, "you and your government have chosen the easy way out for yourselves, and the most dangerous road for society: the path of inner decay for the sake of outward appearances; of deadening life for the sake of increasing uniformity; of deepening the spiritual and moral crisis of our society, and ceaselessly degrading human dignity, for the puny sake of protecting your own power."

It was the big bang that set off the dissident movement in Central Europe. For those lucky enough to read an illegally retyped copy or hear it broadcast over Radio Free Europe, the effect was not unlike what happened to, well, those few people who bought the Velvet Underground's first record: After the shock and initial pleasure wore off, many said, "Wait a minute, I can do this too!" By standing up to a system that had forced every citizen to make a thousand daily compromises—indeed, by identifying those compromises and vowing to forego them in the future—Havel was suggesting a novel new tactic: Have the self-respect to call things by their proper names, never mind the consequences, and maybe you'll put the bastards on the defensive. "In general, I believe it always makes sense to tell the truth, in all circumstances," he told interviewer Jirí Lederer three weeks after issuing the letter. Besides, "I got tired of always wondering how to move in this situation, and I felt the need to stir things up, to confront others for a change and force them to deal with a situation that I myself had created." A Czech, then Slovak, then Polish, then communist-bloc dissident movement sprang up around Havel's letter, producing entire genres of literature within the confines of samizdat. Writers grew their hair out a bit, joked out loud about the secret police, and began looking for a cause célèbre. When the arty longhairs of the Plastic People got charged with disturbing the peace, it became a turning point both in Havel's life and the future of the world.

Go see it if you haven't. |||

"What Havel realized was that this represented something very dangerous," said Czech-born British playwright Tom Stoppard, whose award-winning 2006 play Rock 'n' Roll centered on a Plastic People fan becoming radicalized in communist Prague, in 2009. "Now the state could put you into jail simply for being the wrong sort of bloke." As Havel would later recall, "Everyone understood that an attack on the Czech musical underground was an attack on a most elementary and important thing, something that in fact bound everyone together: it was an attack on the very notion of living within the truth, on the real aims of life."

Havel's 1976 essay on the Plastic People trial—which he and his friends brazenly attended every day, shocking officials in the courtroom—has the rushed and liberated tone of someone who has just crossed a personal point of no return, or has just heard the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks for the first time. "It doesn't often happen and when it does it usually happens when least expected," the piece begins. "Somewhere, something slips out of joint and suddenly a particular event, because of an unforeseen interplay between its inner premises and more or less fortuitous external circumstances, crosses the threshold of its usual place in the everyday world, breaks through the shell of what it is supposed to be and what it seems, and reveals its innermost symbolic significance. And something originally quite ordinary suddenly casts a surprising light on the time and the world we live in, and dramatically highlights its fundamental questions."

Ivan Martin Jirous and his compadres, Havel writes, may not have "had any other aim in mind than persuading the court of their innocence and defending their right to compose and sing the songs they wanted," but through the absurd theatrics of totalitarianism they became "the unintentional personification of those forces in man that compel him to search for himself, to determine his own place in the world freely, and in his own way, not to make deals with his heart and not to cheat his conscience, to call things by their true names . . . and to do so at one's own risk, aware that at any time one may come up against the disfavor of the 'masters,' the incomprehension of the dull-witted, or their own limitations." Havel and his friends began to experience "the exciting realization that there are still people among us who assume the existential responsibility for their own truth and are willing to pay a high price for it." Suddenly, "much of the wariness and caution that marks my behavior seemed petty to me. I felt an increased revulsion toward all forms of guile, all attempts at painlessly worming one's way out of vital dilemmas. Suddenly, I discovered in myself more determination in one direction, and more independence in another. Suddenly, I felt disgusted with a whole world, in which—as I realized then—I still have one foot: the world of emergency exits."

So, that happened. |||

The essay ends with a classic description of Havel bumping into a film director who doesn't understand his sudden enthusiasm for defending a bunch of derelict, possibly drug-addled rock musicians. "Perhaps I'm doing him an injustice," Havel writes, "but at that moment, I was overwhelmed by an intense feeling that this dear man belonged to a world that I no longer wish to have anything to do with—and Mr. Public Prosecutor Kovarik, pay attention, because here comes a vulgar word—I mean the world of cunning shits."

With this middle finger pointed at commie censors and other cunning shits, Václav Havel and his friends then launched Charter 77, arguably the most influential human rights organization in modern history.

That none of this activity was intended when Lou Reed first picked up a guitar is precisely the point. Great art is its own catalyst. Expression that feels truly free can fire the imaginations of people who can only dream of the stuff. Havel always recognized his debt to Lou Reed and The Plastic People, inviting both to perform at Bill Clinton's White House. It is no accident that the rock & roll party after Havel's somber state funeral featured not one, but three songs about heroin. Or that a mini-documentary about Havel's passing would start with this sweet song:

Lou Reed was much more than the Velvet Underground and Revolution, of course. His most famous song, "Walk on the Wild Side," came from a solo album, the David Bowie-produced Transformer, that ranks with the VU's debut as Reed's finest work. Berlin is a classic bummer; Street Hassle is a living refutation to anyone who romanticizes 1970s Manhattan, and even the late-'80s New York has some choice sonic hate mail for Jesse Jackson, Kurt Waldheim, and Rudy Giuliani.

So yes, Reed deserves to be remembered for his outsized impact on world events, but it wasn't just blind geopolitical luck that got him there. At his best there was no songwriter who better juxtaposed melodic beauty and urban despair, low-fi delivery and high-class chord progressions. And no vocalist I can think of was better at living out the exuberance and euphoria of being an everyman singer who got lucky enough to play some goddamned rock & roll:

NEXT: US May Have Been Monitoring Merkel Since 2002

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    OT: Forbes' resident retard Rick Ungar claims to 'discredit' claims that the ACA caused an increase in part-time employment. He says that the percent of part-time workers who want a full-time job has fallen slightly and that the rise in part-time work is because of people who only want part-time work. This smells fishy but I'd like a Reason Editor to take this up. Too many Obamatards like Ungar (perfect tard name) are making shit up and seem to get away with it.

    1. A more careful review of the latest BLS jobs report out last week?a review in which the anti-Obamacare forces do not want you to engage in?reveals that while we do, indeed, currently have 27 million part-time workers in the economy, only 8 million of these people are working part-time because they cannot find a full-time job.

      How could they know this? It seems that it would be very difficult to actually figure out what percentage of people are part time by choice and what percentage are part time for economic reasons. This part strikes me as a bit dumb:

      Now, before you launch into a cynical attack on the numbers as something 'fudged' by the Obama Administration, you might want to bear in mind that the opponents of the ACA have based their own argument on the very same numbers?albeit using only the top-line figures to make their misleading point rather than conveying the full data that shows a very different result.

      Yes, because they're the only numbers available. If I base my argument on total part-timers there are and the fact that there are far more than you've historically seen, that doesn't mean that a separate part of the data has not been fudged or been reported incorrectly.

      I don't really think that Obamacare's led to more part time work. I think it's led to a decrease in jobs generally but I actually agree with Ungar's argument here in that part time work doesn't really seem to have increased.

      1. I know two small companies that have moved all of their workers to part time. 70 full time jobs are now part time.

        The unions had a fit over this, and not for no reason. Part time employment is increasing because....of the reason we said it would; Small employers are incentivized to move everyone to part time.

        It is a pretty straightforward effect of a clear incentive. I googled 'obamacare part time jobs' and got a zillion examples of the left doing what they do best; denying reality. Remember, these are the same people who say oceans of crushing government regulations do not affect employment numbers and welfare dollars go farther in the economy than actual paychecks.

      2. I work for a company that sells POS systems and other related technologies into the restaurant industry (we're the biggest). Customers all over the country, from large restaurant chains to small one or two unit operators are cutting employee hours and making everybody part time to avoid any health care costs. We're even changing various pieces of software to tell managers when people have reached 29 hours so they can send them home. This law has destroyed full time work in the hospitality industry, completely. I'm not at all interested in somebody's tortured reading of BLS statistics. I know what my customers are doing.

        1. I'm not sure if I'd want to brag about working for the biggest sellers of Piece of Shit systems. Wouldn't that make you a Federal Employee?

    2. Notice that in the shitstorm of spin about employment that the only number that really matters is rarely mentioned. The percentage of the population employed. This has been in a decline for a long time, even through obama's phony recovery, and is at it's lowest point for at least 35 years.

    3. "OT: Forbes' resident retard Rick Ungar claims to 'discredit' claims that the ACA caused an increase in part-time employment."

      Right. Lefty brain-deads firmly believe that incentives matter - so long as those incentives are taxes intended to affect behavior.
      Incentives as side effects of lefty brain-dead policies *never* affect anything!
      Why? Well, 'cause bleefs! That's why.

      1. Not quite. Cigarette taxes and penaltaxes affect behavior because they want them to. Other taxes don't affect behavior because they don't want them to.

  2. OT:A black box in your car?

    The usually dull arena of highway planning has suddenly spawned intense debate and colorful alliances. Libertarians have joined environmental groups in lobbying to allow government to use the little boxes to keep track of the miles you drive, and possibly where you drive them ? then use the information to draw up a tax bill.

    The tea party is aghast. The American Civil Liberties Union is deeply concerned, too, raising a variety of privacy issues.

    ....The free marketeers at the Reason Foundation are also fond of having drivers pay per mile.


    1. I can't answer that well, but basing road taxes on miles traveled and vehicle type would be a fairer tax than just per gallon, especially with electric vehicles coming into use. However, leaping to approval of GPS logs is ridiculous. It would be so much simpler to just read the odometer at every yearly registration renewal. If you want to deduct out of state travel for state highway taxes, record it when leaving and entering the state.

      1. I don't speak for anybody but myself.

      2. I can think of a lot of ways to pay for roads that I like better.

      2a. Starting with not having government roads in the first place.

    2. I havent heard anyone mention yet that all cars are equipped with odometers already. Why do we need a black box?

      With these types, assuming the worst is usually a safe bet. Two possibilities;

      1. So that cars can be remotely shut down by cops.

      2. Real time tracking, locating, and history of travel.

      1. Oh, and imagine the river of traffic fine money from seat belts not worn, rolling stops at stop signs, speeding, recorded on these black boxes.

        I bet cops and state revenue officials are shooting off in their pants over the possibilities here.

  3. First off, let me say that I oppose criminalization of drugs.

    But I don't see why we should be celebrating this kind of irresponsible behavior as socially desiraable, especially considering most of its participants are socialists who want everyone else to subsidize their dysfunction.

    How about a piece here celebrating the American working man's role in ending communism. He got up every day and worked hard to build this country's prosperity, the prosperity that convinced the Soviets their system was wrong. But that wouldn't be "cool." Poisoning your body is "cool."

    1. He got up every day and worked hard to build this country's prosperity, the prosperity that convinced the Soviets their system was wrong.

      Uh...I don't think the Soviet system collapsed because they were 'convinced' it was wrong, big guy.

    2. Troll construction 101:

      1.Begin your posts with

      "First off let me say that I oppose criminalization of drugs..."

      "As a libertarian I dont think we should restrict freedom...."

      "Keep in mind that I am a Jew myself, so my feelings about the palestinians..."

      "I am a small government/lower taxes guy..."

      2.Then follow with a huge BUT

      3. Lay out your case for criminalizing drugs, restricting freedom, endorsing palestinian terrorism, expanding government/raising taxes.

      1. Wait a second, all due respect, but he didn't advocate the control or illegalization of anything. He was just commenting on the celebration of heroin use over say, assembling something in a factory.

        I'm not sure if his argument can be answered, because who would you lionize? The VU was a central force in eastern bloc anti-communism. Jon Goldberg simply thinks that celebrating the VU is overrated. I disagree, BUT I don't see anything unlibertarian about his statement.

    3. So you won't be taking a walk on the wild side this weekend?

  4. "By standing up to a system that had forced every citizen to make a thousand daily compromises?indeed, by identifying those compromises and vowing to forego them in the future?Havel was suggesting a novel new tactic: Have the self-respect to call things by their proper names, never mind the consequences, and maybe you'll put the bastards on the defensive. "In general, I believe it always makes sense to tell the truth, in all circumstances,"

    I am wondering when that might happen here, or have we become too docile?

    1. Don't quite see how "in general" and "always" are compatible.

    2. It'll happen. As Havel illustrates. It's never too late. That's why I worry not. When push comes to shove, the statist accomplices will align not of force or coercion, but because they will finally see the light of day. Everyone will eventually see the logic of freedom.

  5. "I've suffered for my it's your turn..."

  6. One of my daughter's favorite songs is 'Vicious' from Transformer. My first Reed CD I bought was 'New York' in 1989 at Towers Records.

    When I visited NYC for the first time in the late 80s pre-Giuliani taking a walk 42dn Street always felt like a Lou Reed song.

    He was - along with VU - before my time but he was an original. A friend of mine once argued VU was the greatest American rock band along with The Beach Boys.

    Anyway. Edna Krabappel (Marcia Wallace) also died. Her romance with Skinner is one for the ages.


    1. Anyway. Edna Krabappel (Marcia Wallace) also died. Her romance with Skinner is one for the ages.

      That means there has to be a third celebrity death coming up. We should have a Reason death poll for which celebrity goes next.

      I'll take Ron Jeremy.

      1. I'll take Eli Wallach, who's incredibly still alive at the age of 97.

        1. Norman Lloyd turns 99 in November I think.

          Two-time Oscar winner Luise Rainer is 103. (She'll be 104 in January.)

        1. I think that list is missing a bunch of people, with Mickey Rooney being near the top of the list. (Well, him and Norman Lloyd whom I mentioned earlier. Character actor Nehemiah Persoff is still alive at 94.)

          1. Cheater. Yes, the internet is awesome. Thank you Al.

      2. I may or may not have written software to manage a dead pool a few years ago.

      3. Franco!
        Oh, wait...

      4. Hal Holbrook?

      5. Stuntman (and Cannonball Run director) Hal Needham died on Friday.

      6. If we have to guess a third death, doesn't Valerie Harper have incurable brain cancer?

    2. On no. I knew mostly from The Bob Newhart show, where she played the secretary.

      1. And her character on Bob Newhart, "Carol", was the lifelong crush of spacy Reverend Jim (aka the nutty professor of "Back to the Future") on the TV show "Taxi".

        Marcia Wallace, playing herself, and Jim went on a blind date in the last season of Taxi, when Jim sang her the lyrics he'd written to the Newhart theme song: "Here comes Bob and Carol, his wife Emily, really loves him! There's five in his practice...."

  7. PS First time I ever played with - like - a professional band (Perrinton Bar, Perrinton, MI) - "Sweet Jane". And "Surrender". Go figure.

    1. Sweet Jane with pipes sounds horrifying.

      1. It probably sounds like "Scotland the Brave".

      2. Probably. I was playing bass in this particular instance 🙂 My SECOND instrument, AFTER I learned pipes!

        Still have the same one - 1976 (I think) black Rickenbacker 4001 - "the Geddy Lee model", as they refer to it at Elderly Instruments in Lansing 🙂

        Still using the orig strap and strap locks I put on it 30+ years ago. Fuckers are stout!

  8. "Perfect Day" is the perfect song.

    1. FAUX NEWS LIAR Kirsten Powers, you mean.


    2. I think many of the people who endorsed obamacare and are now complaining are people who actually believed that obamacare was about healthcare and stupidly thought they were doing good.

      I cant wait until the whole turd is unwrapped and on full display.

  9. I see commenting is slowing down a lot. I am guessing everyone, like me, is getting a pretty good buzz and preparing for The Walking Dead. I dont know why I bother watching it on TV. I can see zombies anytime I want by simply going to Wal-Mart.

    1. The Walking Dead is probably the most inconsistent show on television, each season just barely manages to be good enough to hold my interest.

      For me Sundays are more exciting because of Boardwalk Empire, particularly this season because of the incredible Valentin Narcisse character played by Jeffrey Wright.

      1. If my wife aint into it, I dont get to watch. I wanted to watch boardwalk empire, but....oh well.

        1. I like Boardwalk for a few reasons: 1, the attention to detail is incredible. The music, costumes, and sets are all very well done.

          2. It introduces characters we don't normally see in Roaring 20s/Prohibition era fiction: the disfigured/disabled WWI veteran (Richard Harrow), and with this season the Black Nationalism movement led by Marcus Garvey (Jefferey Wright plays a drug-dealing Black Nationalist).

          1. It introduces characters we don't normally see in Roaring 20s/Prohibition era fiction: the disfigured/disabled WWI veteran

            Doctor Otternschlag would have a sad if he wasn't so high.

        2. Walking Dead is a terrible show. I don't get the hype.

          Boardwalk Empire is totally the opposite. A great show even though this season has been a little slow so far, but I think next week everything will come to a head.

      2. I watched Walking Dead until a few episodes after The Governor was introduced and got sick of it.

        I actually am quite sick of zombies in general.

        1. I agree on the zombie thing. I am not sure why zombies have such an appeal to so many people. Actually, not sure why 'end of the world' scenarios have so much appeal.

          Everyone imagines that they will be the hero, struggling and winning against all odds, slaying their enemies with abandon. They never think they will be the guy who gets sick and becomes the first zombie.

          1. It's not really about zombies. In fact, they never call them zombies. They're 'walkers' or 'biter' but never zombies. If the characters actually called them zombies then the show would be a comedy instead of a drama.

            It's about the sometimes secret sometimes not so secret desire of our culture and society to begin again. We're decadent and want a do-over. Zombies give us normal average people the opportunity to be heroic in an Adam/Eve roll. Fun stuff.

            1. I realize it's not "about" zombies but rather the impact they have on society etc, but I'm still sick of them. If for the past few years video games, TV, and movies constantly had fire-breathing ponies in them, then the effect of their presence would have the same negative impact.

              That's not the fault of the writer's of Walking Dead, but it's there.

              FWIW, I quit watching because eventually there was so much angst and so little hope that it was unbearable; plus, a character I particularly hated came back -- though it is my understanding that said character is now gone once again.

          2. I think it because zombies aren't a protected class, yet. There are no zombies complaining of zombieism. Once the first asshole zombie gets on Oparah to complain how he feels othered by all this zombie stuff, the game is over.

            1. Tom Woods was interviewed by one here.

    2. I can see zombies anytime I want by simply going to Wal-Mart.

      That show's called The Wal-Mart Dead.

  10. NYT: Slaves of the Internet, UNITE!

    People who would consider it a bizarre breach of conduct to expect anyone to give them a haircut or a can of soda at no cost will ask you, with a straight face and a clear conscience, whether you wouldn't be willing to write an essay or draw an illustration for them for nothing. They often start by telling you how much they admire your work, although not enough, evidently, to pay one cent for it.
    In fairness, most of the people who ask me to write things for free, with the exception of Arianna Huffington, aren't the Man; they're editors of struggling magazines or sites, or school administrators who are probably telling me the truth about their budgets. The economy is still largely in ruins, thanks to the people who "drive the economy" by doing imaginary things on Wall Street, and there just isn't much money left to spare for people who do actual things anymore.

    Most unaware sentence ever?

    1. doing imaginary things on Wall Street

      I'm too stupid and/or lazy to know what investment bankers do; hence, they don't do anything.

    2. It's the New York Times, so of course the peanut gallery (racist!) agrees with him:

      JohnPANYT Pick
      What a messed up society we have. The things that are the most value, art, music, literature, dance, theater, are almost impossible to make a living doing. Pointless children's games played by adults make millions. And scoundrels moving numbers around a screen make unimaginable fortunes.

      You hear that, engineers and business owners? You don't contribute as much to society as that art school student who wants to get fucked in the ass in front his class and call it performance art.

      NostranditmasbrooklynNYT Pick
      Who would imagine that you now have so much in common with someone who picks 300 pounds of strawberries for a dollar, yet the two of you will never join forces.

      Probably because the comparative dance major wants the strawberry picker to go back to picking strawberries once he's got his government grant.

      1. The things that are the most value, art, music, literature, dance, theater, are almost impossible to make a living doing.

        But what about the ROADZ?

      2. Keep in mind that none of those people have ever been hungry or truly needy.

        1. Oh, come now SB. I hear on teh radio that one in five chilrenz in murika go hungry.

      3. The things that are the most value, art, music, literature, dance, theater, are almost impossible to make a living doing.

        Otherwise known as "most artists/musicians/writers/actors throughout history." People pay for the "art" that they want, not the stuff you would rather give them.

        Pointless children's games played by adults make millions.

        I didn't know art, music, writing, theater was solely the province of adults. But then, my second-grade interpretation of Banquo in MacBeth was pretty terrible when I look back on it.

        And scoundrels moving numbers around a screen make unimaginable fortunes.

        Bernie Madoff: Brought to you by your tireless public servants at the SEC. Oops! Was I not supposed to point that out?

        1. Pointless children's games played by adults make millions.

          Why is a man who has worked his entire life to get in peak physical condition and provides entertainment for millions less important than a painter or a writer? It occurs to me that they're both important for different reasons.

          This would be just as dumb as if I said "My child can fingerpaint. Why should anyone care about an art gallery when it's just a bunch of adults doing a child's pastime?"

          This reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis.

          Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development.

          I agree with him. The people obsessed with calling other people's interests 'childish' are the ones who are really behaving like children.

      4. The things that are the most value, art, music, literature, dance, theater, are almost impossible to make a living doing.

        It's almost as if value is subjective, and people aren't willing to pay for those things, thus proving that they are of little value. How dare the market fail to accommodate my career choices!

      5. What a messed up society we have. The things that are the most value, art, music, literature, dance, theater, are almost impossible to make a living doing

        Feed your starving kid by doing an interpretive dance of Mein Kampf bitch... enjoy the caloric boost from that.

    3. There is a bottomless supply of ambitious young artists in all media who believe the line about exposure, or who are simply so thrilled at the prospect of publication that they're happy to do it free of charge.

      It seems like heard something, somewhere, about supply and


      ...nah, I must have just made it up.

  11. People keep mentioning "Sweet Jane". I've only heard the Mott the Hoople version -- in fact I didn't know it was a cover.

    1. I grew up with this version.

      1. Years ago my friend's dad was driving him and me to a Scout thing. We were listening to 10 from 6 and after "Ready for Love" finished playing I commented that I liked the original better.

        My friend was shocked that it was a cover*. His dad was shocked that I had ever listened to Mott the Hoople.

        *the guy who wrote it was in Mott the Hoople and then "brought it with him" to Bad Company

      2. Same here so naturally that is the best one.

    2. The only Sweet Jane worth listening to is the live one with the looong intro.
      And after the intro's done, you can turn it off. Sort of like the plank and the fish.

    1. That is my favorite, and appropriate. I posted it earlier today on another thread, but glad to listen to it again.

    2. Sa-weet.

  12. Today's dose of Facebook stupidity:

    Lady puts up a picture of herself at a costume party wearing an apron, McDonald's hat and dressed in red and yellow.

    On the front of the apron is a sign reading:
    "Underpaid & undervalued"

    The caption reads:
    a fast food worker

    Remember who values people based upon their income, and remember that it's progressives.

    1. Interesting you mention that. I detecting more and more people look only at 'wages' and chase it completely neglecting the intangibles of a work environment.

      They seem to be willing to go somewhere to make $1/hr more or $2000 more a year and put up with all sorts of grief and stress.

      I see it in my business. One girl who was earning $14/hr with me but in a relaxed/bilingual family oriented business with all sorts of perks left for $14.75 along with a more corporate environment. She's not as happy there.

      Not only that, my place was conveniently located for her as it was away from the traffic.


      For me, it was always about the atmosphere and culture and not the money when I worked in financial services.

      1. I saw this, in my years in the restaurant industry, many times.

        Often a server would complain about making two bucks an hour not realizing that they are actually making $12-20/hr with tips. So people will go chasing jobs making twelve bucks an hour in an office somewhere.

        People forget that if you work in a restaurant full time, you usually are eating a majority of your meals for free. So, you're not paying for groceries. On top of that, the work atmosphere in a restaurant is very relaxed.

        If drug testing or sexual harassment policies were widely adopted there'd be a mass exodus of workers. It's really hard to go from that to a job where you must censor yourself and act differently than you are.

        What happens is that people get 'real' jobs where you have to wear khakis and not do coke with your colleagues at work, become miserable, and are back in the restaurant business after a few months.

        1. Waiting tables was one of the best jobs I ever had. You could make $70-$100 in 4-6 hours. Be done in time to go out and have the whole next morning and afternoon off. You work with hot chicks and you're likely the only straight guy there.

          Wouldn't want to make a career of it, but it was a great deal for a while.

          1. Yeah but what if you hate people?
            Don't know if you ever watched Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations but there's an episode where he goes back to work a day at Les Halles, and the head waiter, Tim, is a guy who I just want to punch.

            1. I do hate people.

              I'd suck their dicks on the floor and go back in the kitchen and yell and scream about them. It kept me sane.

              My boss told me several times that he'd have fired me if he didn't have so many customers come through the door and ask for me.

              1. My wife, the eternal optimistic, rational, social butterfly - keeps telling me it's not normal to loathe people like I do.

                Thankfully my daughter takes after her mother.

                  1. I'm trying, dammit!

            2. I remember that episode, and Tim wasn't someone I'd like to work with.

              I waited tables for a few years when the owner of the place I cooked at let me to make extra cash. There seems to be this belief among some servers that talking up your customers and charming them gets you extra tips (or is something customers desire). I noticed that those guys/girls usually made less money and their customers would bitch to me when they came in next*.

              The secret to waiting tables is to move fast, be polite and fix problems. If you do those things competently you'll be rewarded with polite, big tipping customers.

              Sure everyone has horror stories, but 99% of tables just want to eat their dinner in peace.

              *On that note, I had one guy that used to come in by himself to eat. He'd never need a menu and would order, eat, pay and be gone within a half an hour; I never said more than ten words to him. He'd tip very generously. Once he got this new waitress that was very pretty and thought she was a stripper because she'd flirt and talk up any guy she was waiting on.

              So... She's hanging all over this guy and won't shut up. He left her a 10% tip and she was all pissed off. Next time he came him we had our only conversation. He said to me, "You know that waitress I had last week?"

              "Yeah, was everything okay?"

              "Why won't she just shut the fuck up?"

              "I don't know. Do you need a refill?"

              He left me a $20 tip on a $19 order.

              1. You nailed it. Polite and hustle. Moving your ass can overcome nearly ANY problem. They see you moving, you don't get blamed for shitty/slow food or a crowded restaurant, and most will tip you well in spite of other problems.

                1. Man, I used to love working on busy nights. It was such a challenge.

                  I don't think people realize the stress involved in dealing with a hundred things at once. Things that can't be put off. But when you pull it off you get a sort of buzz. I think that's why so many restaurant people get off of a terrible, busy shift and go out to drink, drug and fuck. You get so amped after a crazy shift that you're definitely not going to bed, and you don't have to be at work until the next after noon.

                  I'm about to enter the regular workforce and know that I'll be so bored in a few years that I'll do something really stupid... like buy a restaurant.

              2. Keep it simple. Genuine and courteous and above all: Efficient.

                I don't like small chat either. The waiter that hangs around telling their life story in particular is especially grating. My wife loves that, I fucking hate it.

                1. Also if you try to make me order extra drinks/dessert (by making me look bad if I don't) in front of my date, I'm cutting your tip or never coming back.

              3. Hmmm. I am wondering if I was your customer.

  13. Say, if you want good educational music, try this.

        1. Why did they need to humiliate Mickey's dog? WHY??

    1. 15 seconds into that and I wanted to shoot myself to make the pain stop.

  14. True tales from the world of Professional Wrestling.

    TO this I say It's still real to me.

    1. and nobody tells a story like the =Iron Sheik.

  15. Please tell me the peanut gallery here thinks that was the right call last night in the World Series.

    St.L pitching is shutting Boston bats down.

    Errors are playing a role.

    1. I had an exchange with whichever editor did the piece on self-driving cars, pointing out that if it was self-driving it was logging data that could easily be collected by our government. Dunno why it hadn't occurred to him already.

      1. Self driving cars would be awesome. I could actually get drunk at bars again.

        1. yeah they won't allow that in case you need to take control.

          1. I want one that doesn't have controls. Computer, tea, Earl Grey home.

        2. Francisco d Anconia|10.27.13 @ 8:56PM|#
          "Self driving cars would be awesome."

          You think NSA wouldn't have a complete record of where you've been?

          1. Don't confuse awesome technology with how the government misuses it.

            How it's supposed to work is entrepreneurs come up with this really great thing and market it to everybody without restriction and before government shitbags misuse it, we, the people, through our elected representatives tell the government what THEY can and can't use it for. Or better yet, they could just follow that document thingy written by teh old white slave owner dudes. The one that's hard to read and stuff.

            1. How can the Constitution possibly be relevant? It's only a couple of pages long!! If that!!!

    2. That has already been discussed in this thread.

      1. Libertarians should NOT be supporting/advocating new taxes...ever.

        A fuel tax (and tire tax)is the best way to fund public roads (we're not going all private in anybody's lifetime). Mandating all of these taxes go to road construction and maintenance is a far better and easier thing than creating a new mileage tax.

        The "problem" of people switching to high mileage cars, hybrids and electris is because of the government mandates and CAFE standards. People who voluntarily choose these vehicles (hardcore greens and tech nerds) shouldn't be penalized for reducying their fuel consumption (and tax burden).

        1. There's a fine line between suggesting different taxes and new taxes. I understand the hesitation, but we 22 libertarians discuss alternate, more fair and less easily abused forms of taxes all the time. While I haven't read the Libertarian Argument For Taxing Cars on Miles Driven Via the Black Box, I'm guessing that's where it will come from- the idea that it's an alternate form of taxation, not a new one.

  16. I think Aaron Sorkin should do the next Star Trek series. It'll be a good way to go back to Rodenberry's vision and get all sorts of acclaim and be "adult" with Important Themes and Subject Matter and what not.

    1. Fewer lens flares, more walk-and-talks.

      1. More Self-Righteous unsubtle leftist moralizing...oh wait.

        1. I wish we could live in the 24th century, where unmet needs is an illusion, because resources will apparently become unlimited, in contradiction to all known physical laws.

  17. I haven't heard of Lou Reed so I guess he must have been good.

  18. My friend's wife is evil.

    Kids loved the chocolate fudge I made. They were unaware that the base ingredient was beans.

    1. Unless she's talking about cocoa beans, or possibly coffee beans, I concur with your assertion that she is evil.

    2. I had an allergy to pintos and eggplant when I was a kid, my lips, sinuses and tongue would swell up. Still may have the allergy, I wont eat them still. Joke would have been on her if one of those kids choked to death.

      1. Depending on your perspective, the joke might have been on the kid choking.


    3. Roll that beautiful bean footage!


  19. I tried to listen to some of the songs listed (Sweet Jane, I'm Waiting for the Man, something about White Nights)...meh.

    If, as is claimed, the group inspired others to write music, then I honor them for it, but the music seemed, well, bland.

    Take a Walk on the Wild Side is catchy enough to get some radio air time, and it has the added bonus of referring to African-American Womyn as "colored ladies", but I could see where it would get annoying if one had to hear it more than once in a great while.

    1. Transformer album. Try it out.

      1. It's more than meets the eye.

        1. I liked "The Satellite of Love"; well, I liked its title, anyway, because it reminded me of the "Love Theme from Mystery Science Theater 3000"

  20. My favorite song (so far) of 2013.

    Not surprising, I guess, since I'm a white Southron male, and the song, as it turns out, is racist.

    1. My favorite song (so far) of 2013.

      Uh, that's not Arcade Fire!

  21. Holy Moly the LA Kings are wearing old purple jerseys

    1. Ah yes. The Triple Crown line: Simmer-Dionne-Taylor!

      Rogie Vachon still one of the best names in hockey.

      All I know is I need Justin Williams to pop some points for my hockey pool.

  22. OT:

    We need more inflation.

    Because stealing the earning power of poor people just makes good economic sense to people who think that consumer spending is the primary driver of economic growth.

    1. "The Fed has worked for decades to suppress inflation..."

      So, do I laugh or rage at this?

      1. You calmly point out that they've worked for decades to suppress inflation because the last time they didn't suppress inflation we maxed out at 10% unemployment and 12% inflation.

        As it turns out, that's a rough combination.

        1. Keeping the interest rate at effectively 0% for several years running is hardly "suppressing inflation".

          1. Yes, but there's minimal inflation right now. It's not as if we're running 8% inflation.

            We did crank up interest rates in the early '80s to end the late '70s stagflation, and since then we've never had a period in which inflation has gotten particularly high.

            1. I'd say it depends on one's definition of inflation.

              Sure, washing machines and teevees aren't going up, but what about bread and mayonnaise?

              1. How about education and healthcare?

                Significant government price controls and subsidies create price inflation. who woulda thunk it?

              2. Not...not...artisanal mayonnaise?

                *looks around nervously...forces self to hold back panic*

              3. Washing machines have gone through the roof if you factor in "reverse hedonics".

                A 1960s/70s Kenmore or Maytag gets your clothes much cleaner than all but the high-end boutique laundry machines of today. The 1%-worthy hi-dollar models are inferior to a 30+ y/o commercial machine.

            2. We have asset price inflation. When the FED purchases bonds they're squeezing one side of a water balloon and forcing the price inflation into other assets. They pump with QE and the excess liquidity manifests as price increases in high end real estate, stocks, and art.

              1. They pump with QE and the excess liquidity manifests as price increases in high end real estate, stocks, and art.

                You forgot the fucking mayonnaise. Jesus, that shit's expensive. And I'm not talking about some brooklyn based, hippie artisanal bullshit, neither. Fucking Hellman's man.

                What the fuck? Is the fed printing mayo with some kind of condiment based replicator, and if so, why is the price going up?!?!

                1. Goddamn, I knew it. You all are in on it, aren't you? Your silence on this issue is deafening.

                  Fuck. Where to turn...

                  When the shit hits the fan and this whole scheme collapses, remember that I am well armed and you can have my hellman's when you pry it from my cold, greasy hand.

                  1. I'm a miracle whip kind of man.

                    1. Miracle Whip on bread...nothing else...a tasty treat.

                    2. As a child, I used to make "bologna and Miracle Whip?" sandwiches. I would take a couple of bites, then throw away the bread, take a couple of bites of just the bologna, then lick the Miracle Whip? off and throw away the bologna.

                    3. UNCONTROLLABLE VOMITTING

                      Seriously, the only thing more disgusting than inflation is mayonnaise. Cavalier's post is actually activating my gag reflex.

                  2. "Best Foods West of the Rockies"

    2. Rising prices help companies increase profits; rising wages help borrowers repay debts. Inflation also encourages people and businesses to borrow money and spend it more quickly.

      Given that these things are true and good, why not hyperinflate to get the economy jumping again?

      1. "Rising prices help companies increase profits..."

        "Retailers including Costco and Walmart are hoping for higher inflation to increase profits."

        Insert the word "nominal" in between "increase" and "profits" in both of the above statements.

        There, that's a little more accurate, I'd say.

      2. These Keynesians don't seem to have actually read Keynes.

        By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth. Those to whom the system brings windfalls . . . become 'profiteers', who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished not less than the proletariat. As the inflation proceeds . . . all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless.

        -John Maynard Keynes

        If Keynes were alive today, Keynesians would call him a filthy right-winger.

        1. Ugh. I'd say that the "ultimate foundation of capitalism" is the right of individuals to own and use property. Otherwise, in this statement, Keynes is corr--


          Keynes is corre---

          Excuse me.

          Keynes is

          There! Got it out.

          1. I know its hard but remember this - even Krugman has been right once or twice.

            1. Well, he won the "Nobel Prize" in economics for pointing out that most trade is not rich countries exploiting poor countries, or even rich countries trading "ham for vodka" (based on the idea of comparative advantage). His research showed that a lot of trade is of the form "red automobiles for blue automobiles", which is a fascinating insight.

          2. Ugh. I'd say that the "ultimate foundation of capitalism" is the right of individuals to own and use property. Otherwise, in this statement, Keynes is corr--

            You can own and use property in a mercantalist system.

            I think his point is right. In order for a capitalistic system to work, you need people to have the ability to get enough capital to produce. You need to be able to collect the capital necessary to build a factory or run an assemblyline. In order to do that, you need a relationship between debtors and creditors in which both can profit and in which both know the terms of the agreement so that the capitalist will be able to take out loans to start his business.

            When you start dicking around with inflation, you make it harder for people to predict the future and figure out how much they should loan or how much they should borrow. That's one of the reasons it's so damaging to the economy: It introduces static and screws up the flow of information necessary for a capitalist system.

            1. That private propery may form the basis for other economic systems does not negate the argument that it definitely does so for capitalism.

              The process of taking out loans itself depends on the institution of private property. A banker probably needs to be sure that your house won't be taken away from you arbitrarily before he extends a home equity loan to you.

              There are other methods of financing besides loans. You can pull out of your own savings, take on a partner, or sell ownership in your company. I don't know to what degree debt financing exceeds or falls short of equity financing, though.

            2. Your description of the problems of inflation with regard to planning is spot-on.

              But these problems exist with monetary inflation even when it doesn't spill over into price inflation. The 1920's is considered a time of low inflation--and prices did remain nominally stable over the decade. However, it was also a decade with dramatic increases in productivity, which should have effected price deflation. It didn't, of course, because the Federal Reserve's easy money policy throughout the 1920's.

      3. You know who else hyperinflated to get the economy going again?

    3. "This enduring deflation [in Japan], which policy makers are now trying to end, kept the economy in retreat as people hesitated to make purchases, because prices were falling, or to borrow money, because the cost of repayment was rising."

      I'm hungry, but I'll wait and eat tomorrow, when the price of steak has dropped a little more.

      1. Japan has tried every Keynesian trick in the book to get the economy going. Japan was actually an example in the '70s and '80s that leftists used as an example of how a very intrusive government could 'control' an economy.

        I always find it amazing that when all of these left-wing economies fail, liberals immediately assure us that they were right-wing all along.

        1. Japan's deflation has been the only thing going for it. Anyone who thinks that the deflation has kept that country down is an idiot. As soon as Japan inflates, all of its debt becomes toxic and nobody will want to hold it. KABOOM.

          1. It's a regular Japanese monetary nukular reactor.

            1. As soon as the stimulus-tsunami hits the monetary nukular reactor...well you fill in the rest, and try to put Godzilla in there.

            2. + tentacle porn.

  23. I have found the greatest book of all time.

    I give to you The Pornography of Meat.

    The author of The Sexual Politics of Meat returns with an emotionally charged volume based on her traveling lecture-slide show. Adams, a crusader for the rights of women and animals (or, as she calls them, "nonhumans") charges that both have long been portrayed as consumable, mouth-watering slabs of meat, and she provides graphic backup for her argument in the form of advertisements, signs, photographs and illustrations (e.g., "Strip Tease," reads a billboard for a steak house). The advertising industry is the primary culprit in the "thingification" of women and nonhumans, she says, an argument whose first part will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Jean Kilbourne's pioneering critiques of the industry's portrayal of women.

    I don't even know what to say.

    1. I guess it didn't occur to her that men are objectified or "consumable" as well?

      Not necessarily in the same style, more like a romanticized objectification, but still can portrayed as "mouth-watering", like the whole Edward or Jacob thingy.

      1. It's like she's never seen a hotdog commercial.

        Especially those Hebrew National ones. They are basically genital mutilation propaganda.

        1. What, is there something wrong with circumcision?

    2. I had the pleasure of attending a "lecture" put on by this so-called "ecofeminist" around the time of the publication of this book when she was making a university circuit during my undergraduate. It was quite unexpected for me, but she proceeded to show the audience a series of side-by-sides with hardcore porn on the left and slaughtering/meat production processes on the right. One of the flimsiest attempts at demonstrating correlation=causation I have ever say through. The "correlation" aspect of this opus was weak as hell, which isn't surprising in hindsight.

      Instead of walking away moralised, I left the auditorium with a chubby and a hankering for a cheeseburger. My god, was her thesis correct all along? ???

  24. "The Pornography of Meat uncovers startling connections:Why pornography demonstrates such a fascination with slaughtering and huntingFixations on women's body parts expressed through ads for the breasts, legs, and thighs of chickens and turkeysAnimals to be eaten as meat presented in seductive poses and sexy clothingBack-entry poses in pornography, implying that women - especially women of color - are like animals"

    1. Neigh means nay!

    2. Goddamnit - now I'm hungry again...

  25. Out-of-network not an option in individual ObamaCare plans

    "This is absolutely terrible," said the small-business owner, who ?requested anonymity out of fear of retribution. "This is an absolute fraud. Basically if you want to go out of network, you pay through the nose. You're screwed."

    Surprise, surprise, surprise!

    /Gomer Pyle

  26. Seriously Reason? Anyclip - self-playing clips with the sound on automatically? Do you own stock in ad-blockers? Or are you just trying to fuck over your advertisers by driving us to install them?

    1. I never listen to self-playing clips. They're obnoxious.

    2. I have Opera set up to enable plug-ins only on demand, and I didn't get any self-playing clips here.

      (I've had problems with the BBC, though.)

      1. Ted S.|10.27.13 @ 10:58PM|#
        "I have Opera set up to enable plug-ins only on demand, and I didn't get any self-playing clips here."

        I have a mute key; it's on 24/7 unless there's something of interest.

    3. Im the King Adblock and im here to say
      I can make those ads vanish like MCA

  27. Back on topic:

    For all you whippersnappers and snot-nosed punks

    The Velvet Underground Some Kinda Love

    1. Jackass may well be doing well vis a vis other films, but how does it compare to staying home and watching tv or some movie on the internet?

    2. I heard it wasn't that bad. Why do you think Kenny Bania was so popular? People like the stuff they don't have to think about.

  28. Discount DAAAAAAAAAAAAABLE check!

    Fucking commercials....

  29. How about a happy tune? You like "Perfect Day"? You'll love this...

    The Kids

    1. Ronson on the piano. Damn was he talented, too.

      1. I saw him with the Ian Hunter Band a few times, fucking amazing. Even more so when you total up his credited studio contributions.

  30. After game 3, I fully expect tonight's World Series game to end on an exciting balk-off.

    1. Whatever the baseball equivalent to Penalty Kicks in soccer is.

      1. And it ends on a pick-off at first base.

    1. Jesus that guy's terrible.

  31. Canadian drug conspiracy turns unsuspecting Australians into drug mules

    An Australian couple thought they'd won a dream vacation when they were revealed as the "lucky" winners of a contest they'd entered online. It turns out the competition, from bogus Canada-based tour company AusCan Tours, was effectively an application to be drug mules.

    When the Perth couple, ages 64 and 72, returned home to Australia a little suspicious about their bags, they alerted the airport's customs officials, who found $7 million in crystal meth stashed in the lining, the AFP reports. Australian police think the couple's luggage was switched in Canada.

    A Canadian was arrested in Perth ? he was apparently supposed to meet the couple upon arrival ? and a raid turned up suitcases similar to those seized, related documents, and $15,000 in cash.

    The scam, uncovered earlier this month, apparently targeted older people, and there are "a lot of Canadians involved in this," a reporter told the CBC, citing eight arrests over the last year and a half.

    1. Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorance on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon... you know, cause I've worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do that all the time.

      1. You got your bail-bag handy? They might be coming for you, Archduke.

        Or are you going to pay Canada's equivalent of the Aryan Brotherhood to shank all those indicted co-conspirators in prison?

        1. In Canada's equivalent of the AB, they're all Todd.

      2. Just watched the episode where George tries to avoid temptation by hiring a secretary that he finds unattractive.

  32. Irish|10.27.13 @ 10:17PM|#
    ..."If Keynes were alive today, Keynesians would call him a filthy right-winger."

    Which is irrelevant. Keynes econ fails for the same reason Marx' econ fails. Both require a 'unicorn'.
    Keynes needs a government that will reduce taxes and spending during those times when government is blind-sided by clever people and folks get prosperous. It DOES NOT HAPPEN.
    Marx requires the 'new Soviet man' who ignores his own welfare for the state. It DOES NOT HAPPEN.
    A freed-market view of the political economy relies on people acting in their own self-interest. It happens every damn minute.

    1. What gets me is that the most well-respected theory of economics depends on the silly concept of "animal spirits" to explain the "boom-bust" cycle.

      Why not just say that recessions happen because the credit fairies get in a snit?

      1. cavalier973|10.27.13 @ 11:46PM|#
        "What gets me is that the most well-respected theory of economics depends on the silly concept of "animal spirits" to explain the "boom-bust" cycle."

        The name is silly, but I'm not sure of the concept. If "animal spirits" is intended to simply label "self interest" I'm down with that.
        OTOH, as regards "boom-bust", it explains nothing at all.

        1. Maybe I'm misinterpreting the theory, but from what I gather, Keynes thought that recessions occur because the businessman suddenly has a sad, and would rather mope than do business.

          1. Well if that's the case, the boom and bust cycle can be solved by passing a law banning anyone in business from getting a sad.

          2. cavalier973|10.28.13 @ 12:21AM|#
            "Maybe I'm misinterpreting the theory, but from what I gather, Keynes thought that recessions occur because the businessman suddenly has a sad, and would rather mope than do business."

            I may be missing it also, but econ is a social science, and it has to incorporate human impulses; call 'em 'incentives'.
            If O'care suggests to the bizz-folk that next year they're gonna have to fork over a lot of the revenue if they hire new workers, well, that 'animal spirit' may well say 'NAAAH'.
            Again, re the "boom-bust", I don't see it as the driver, but as the response.

              1. Hazlitt on Keynes.

                "Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive . . . can only be taken as a result of animal spirits?of a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative
                probabilities. Enterprise only pretends to itself to be mainly actuated by the statements in its own prospectus" (pp. 161-162). Free private investment depends upon "the nerves and hysteria and even the digestions" of private investors (p. 162), on "whim or sentiment or chance" (p. 163)."


                1. And what is all this leading up to? The denouement comes in the final paragraph of the chapter:

                  'For my own part I am now somewhat sceptical of the success of a merely monetary policy directed toward influencing the rate of interest. I expect to see the State, which is in a position to calculate the marginal efficiency of capital-goods on long views and on the basis of the general social advantage, taking an ever greater responsibility for directly organizing investment (p. 164).'

                  So there you have it. The people who have earned money are too shortsighted, hysterical, rapacious, and idiotic to be trusted to invest it themselves. The money must be seized from them by the politicians, who will invest it with almost perfect foresight and complete disinterestedness (as illustrated, for example, by the economic planners of Soviet Russia).

          3. I find it funny that people on the right make fun of Keynes animal spirits and people on the left embrace the concept but make fun of uncertainty as a drag on economic growth.

            When in reality the two phrases are describing the same phenomena.

            1. From what I can see, "animal spirits" encompasses more than mere "uncertainty". It rather assumes that people have little to no capacity to develop and act on a plan; that they are like "George Nelson" from O Brother, Where Art Thou?

              Now wuddya suppose is eatin' George?

              Well ya know, Delmar, they say that
              with a thrill-seekin' personality,
              what goes up must come down. Top of
              the world one minute, haunted by
              megrims the next. Yep, it's like our
              friend George is a alley cat and his
              own damn humors're swingin' him by
              the tail. But don't worry, Delmar;
              he'll be back on top again. I don't
              think we've heard the last of George

  33. OT: Oops! Critical Obamacare Data Center Shuts Down Due To Glitch

    A data center critical for allowing uninsured Americans to buy health coverage under President Barack Obama's healthcare law went down on Sunday, the U.S. government said, in the latest problem for the "Obamacare'' rollout.

    Verizon's Terremark operates the data center behind a federal system for determining eligibility for government subsidies to buy insurance nationwide and hosts, the website that makes insurance available in 36 of the 50 states.

    The data center experienced a failure on Sunday that led it to lose network connectivity, Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Joanne Peters said.

    The muscles on the sides of my mouth are suffering from some sort of strange spasm. It seems to be drawing my lips upwards towards my ears. I believe this what you humans refer to as a "smile."

    1. I smiled once. It was awful.

      1. Joules of energy wasted smiling could be put to better use whipping child slaves polishing and sorting your monocle collection.

  34. Rock bands in Czechoslovakia required a license from the government

    Ahh, what to say about this in modern America.

  35. "So, what is your church doing for Halloween this year?"

    "We're burning Bibles."


    1. Okay, it appears that this story is from 2009.

      "The Amazing Grace Baptist Church of Canton, North Carolina, headed by Pastor Marc Grizzard, intended to hold a book burning on Halloween 2009.[130][131] The church, being a King James Version exclusive church, held all other translations of the Bible to be heretical, and also considered both the writings of Christian writers and preachers such as Billy Graham and T.D. Jakes and most musical genres to be heretical expressions. However, a confluence of rain, oppositional protesters[132] and a state environmental protection law against open burning resulted in the church having to retreat into the edifice to ceremoniously tear apart and dump the media into a trash can (as recorded on video which was submitted to People For the American Way's Right Wing Watch blog);[133] nevertheless, the church claimed that the book "burning" was a success.[134]"

  36. The Velvet Undergrounds second greatest gift is that it allowed you to do heroin...without actually ever doing heroin.

  37. Its like you read my message mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the home a bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  38. Jonathan Richman:

    Well you could look at that band
    And at first sight
    Say that certain rules about modern music
    Wouldn't apply tonight

    Twangy sounds of the cheapest kind
    Like 'Guitar Sale $29.99'
    Bold and brash, stark and still
    Like the heat's turned off and you can't pay the bill
    How in the world were they making that sound?
    Velvet Underground

    Both guitars got the fuzz tone on
    The drummer's standing upright pounding along
    A howl, a tone, a feedback whine
    Biker boys meet the college kind
    How in the world were they making that sound?
    Velvet Underground!

  39. I am plainly an outlier - the only track I can stand on The Velvet Underground is Venus in Furs, and I've never liked Reed's music in general.

    (On the greater topic of Communist rebellion in music, Laibach provides an interesting mode of operation: Be facially perfectly compatible with Communism, with sarcasm so subtle you can look the Apparatchiks clean in the eye and insist there's not a thing in your music incompatible with The System.

    It's a harder game, but the State found it hard to counter.

    Tito's government was fine with their direct anti-Fascism, and couldn't quite demonstrate that it rolled over into anti-Communism, too...)

  40. I am happy to watch this you tube video at this web page, so now I am also going to upload all my videos at YouTube web site.

  41. "Rock bands in Czechoslovakia required a license from the government,"
    Talk about not getting the concept.

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